When you think of a dude ranch, perhaps you think of horses, cattle, camping and wide open spaces. Fields full of solar panels probably didn’t make your list, but a dude ranch in Arizona just installed what is being referred to as the largest onsite solar installation in southern Arizona and the ranch owners say it fits right in with their ranch’s land-centric experience and ethics of self-reliance and sustainability.
The system installed at the White Stallion Ranch is said to be comprised of three different components which have a combined generating capacity of 113 killowatts. The system can provide between 30%-40% of the ranch’s electricity needs and is expected to provide about $20,000 in energy cost savings.
The 71 year old, 3,000 acre White Stallion Ranch is located about 17 miles northwest of Tuscon and has been owned by the True family since 1965. It’s current operators, Russell and Michael True, got some help funding the $600,000 project from local utility Tuscon Electric Power. Federal and state tax incentives will reportedly pick up the slack over the next 3.5 years or so.
According to the White Stallion Ranch blog, co-owner Russell True first considered the solar power system when he was approached by solar developer Solar Path at a city function. Solar Path’s display and informative representatives made a compelling case but, after some internal consideration, the ranch collectively decided not to take Solar Path up on its offer to coordinate the system design and installation. The program Solar Path was running quickly filled up and the option disappeared but, after a few companies dropped out and the option opened up again, the ranch apparently jumped at the second opportunity.