New Business Opportunities for Rural Farmers

New Business Opportunities for Rural Farmers


Chad Ray, a 10th generation farmer and energy efficient home builder has created several small businesses focused on the intersection of sustainable farming and the increasing number of solar projects in N.C.

“Clean energy has created new ways for us to apply sustainable farming techniques that have a real economic impact on the people living in our local, rural communities,” commented Chad Ray.

In 2011, he established Sun-Raised Farms, a group of farmers that provide developers, landowners and operators of ground-mounted, large scale solar projects with cost-effective grounds maintenance using free-range sheep. These solar projects, also called solar farms, usually cover 15 to 40 acres of land. And, Chad Ray has taken it to another level—the company also has a distribution partnership with Whole Foods for sustainably-raised lamb.

Today, Sun-Raised Farms oversees the ground maintenance of nearly 30 solar farms across N.C. and has helped create long-term jobs in many rural communities.

In addition to growing produce and raising livestock, Chad Ray builds ENERGY STAR and NAHB-certified energy efficient homes in N.C. through a home building company he owns with family and a partner group. In fact, he helped develop the HERO Energy Code (High Efficiency Residential Option) that requires compliance from N.C. builders on specific energy efficient standards.

A recent Rolesville Buzz article titled, “Solar Farms: The Latest in Farming Technology” shares more about the impact of Chad Ray’s work in the Franklin County community of Bunn, N.C.

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