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Abstract

The performance and costs of eight experimental onfarm solar collectors designed to dry corn were studied. Solar drying costs were compared with costs of owning and operating conventional grain dryers. The costs of the lowest cost collectors were found to be as low as or lower than those for some conventional dryers. Depreciation and fuel costs were the major cost items contributing to this favorable comparison. Fixed costs for the eight solar collectors ranged from 6.6 to 26.6 cents/bu; variable costs ranged from 1.5 to 8.4 cents. Further research, mass production, and increasing energy costs should enhance the economic feasibility of solar grain drying. However, its dependability on sunshine and the uncertainty of solar performance in times of inclement weather are factors which may limit its use to a "solar grain drying belt."

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