Sustainable Living: World’s First Solar Greenhouse at Little River Flower Farm

Interview with the owner of the World’s First Solar Greenhouse at Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine. We were honored to have the opportunity to visit and learn about the solar technology used at this organic and sustainable farm. We interviewed owner Bruce Stedman about his 6,400 square foot solar greenhouse which was developed together with Maine Technology Institute and Maine Sustainable Agriculture over three years ago.

The greenhouse features flexible solar panels that have the dual function of generating green energy as well as cooling the greenhouse in the summer, making it economically and environmentally sustainable. The greenhouse was built with steel and pultruded fiber glass with flexible solar panels laminated onto the roof which provide a peak output of 14.4kW (1.2 mega watt per month), powering all pumps and fans and is a net-zero energy structure during the summer months.

The greenhouse incorporates 14 raised grow beds and a root zone radiant heat system powered by a biomass wood pellet boiler. This system uses heated water pipes that allow for precise temperature control to each individual raised bed with minimal excess heat loss.

Bruce explained how this greenhouse was built and also talks about their next project starting in 2020, a new prototype of sustainable greenhouse called the Growbox which will serve as a demonstration facility. The new structure can be moved and used for different purposes from growing, farming to offices and government buildings during crisis situations etc.

Owners Bruce and Nancy Stedman have been growing certified organic produce and flowers at their farm called Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine for the past 20 years. Their solar greenhouse is used to grow organic food and flowers 365 days per year. The couple provides their locally grown food to surrounding grocery chains, markets and restaurants. Besides working on their farm, Nancy also leads their flower cutting and floral arrangement business and Bruce leads their landscaping business and together they built a beautiful tiny house which can be rented via Airbnb.

Please visit their website for more information:
https://www.littleriverflowerfarm.com/

Watch our video about their Airbnb here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKnrOaxXSao&t=28s

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