Cutting a dairy farm’s electricity bill by 20% with solar

Dairy farming in Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny, Cathal Moran has made his own piece of solar history by having a solar PV (photovoltaic) system installed on his farm.

The 10kWp project was installed in a single day and will produce up to 9,000kWh of electricity per annum – that’s enough to power two homes for an entire year.

The project was developed by Elgin Energy in partnership with Activ8 Solar Energies. This is the first time such a project and structure has been installed on an Irish farm.

The structure consists of a simple, lightweight steel frame, driven into the ground with no concrete being poured.

The panels are mounted onto the frame and connect directly to the farm’s fuse board. It is expected to save Moran an average of €1,300 annually or 20% of his electricity bill.

Moran is committed to farming sustainably and was keen to participate in the pilot scheme that provides a straightforward and practical clean energy solution.

“In recent years, margins in farming have grown tighter,” Moran explained.

Consumers are demanding sustainable practices are adopted. This is being passed through the supply chain and farmers are now trying to identify how they can best meet this demand.

“Solar is the perfect solution because it is easy to install on the land and it will reduce both my electricity bill and my carbon footprint.”

Elgin Energy’s managing director, Ronan Kilduff, said: “Solar energy can be integrated across every farm in Ireland if the right policies are in place.

“Planning exemptions for small-scale solar installations and the ability to sell excess energy to the grid are crucial in assisting adoption of solar across Irish farms.

“Farming is the backbone of Ireland and this challenging industry requires support to adopt improved sustainable practices. The solar industry is best placed to provide this support.”

Commenting further, Elgin Energy’s Ciaran Marron said: “Solar is fast becoming the cheapest form of energy and will surpass wind energy in Ireland in the coming years.

“We believe every home, business and farm will want to install solar PV not just because it is environmentally friendly, but because it will be the cheapest form of electricity in the very near future.”