Weather has always been important in agriculture, particularly sunshine for ripening crops. Farms are now reaping the benefits of the sun in new ways using solar PV, which is helping them to cut costs, increase energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.
Electricity is a significant outlay on most farms, particularly dairy, which can use a lot of energy during day-to-day operations. Solar photovoltaic (PV), however, is helping farms to drive down their running costs by generating their own power.
Solar PV – which converts sunlight into electricity – is durable, reliable and is virtually maintenance free.
Electric Ireland recently launched a solar PV product for Irish farms, with a 10% discount for Electric Ireland customers. These installations can help power energy-intensive operations, such as milking parlours, with 100% renewable energy.
Savings in solar PV
While cost savings are a given, potential gains depend on the kind of operations you have, and your farm’s energy needs. Electric Ireland will design an installation package based on your individual needs, energy usage and budget.
An added benefit to solar PV is that the cost of the technology is at an all-time low. With solar PV module prices down by around 90% since 2009, now is a good time to make the investment.
Together with Electric Ireland’s 10% discount on its solar PV offering, its interest-free payment scheme and the availability of a Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) grant – the financial incentives are attractive.
Farm businesses also can avail of 100% tax write-off in the year of purchase.
Clean and green
Cost cutting and savings are not the only incentives, however.
With climate action high on the global and national agenda, the farming community is eager to do what it can to reduce carbon emissions and build its environmental credentials with cleaner operations.
Following the recent introduction of the Climate Action Bill, in which the government commits to becoming a carbon neutral State by 2050, all sectors including agriculture are taking measures to support that aim, and reduce their carbon footprint.
Size and storage of solar PV
Electric Ireland’s rooftop installations are available for farms of all sizes with options from 6kWp up to 50kWp.
You can also install a diverter which uses any spare power generated to heat your water, which can be in high demand, particularly on dairy farms.
Electric Ireland also offers a battery storage system – using German-made Sonnen batteries – which can store excess energy for later use, ensuring no renewable energy is wasted. You can install this as part of your solar PV package, or you may choose to retrofit a battery at some time in the future.
The Electric Ireland technology comes with an app that helps you track your energy usage and see your solar PV working in real-time. If you have a battery, you can monitor and manage your electricity usage on the farm via the app. It can help you to assess your usage habits, make changes and save some money as well.
Farmers considering investing in solar might also be interested in the government’s new Microgeneration Support Scheme.
This energy export initiative is due to kick off in July and will allow households, communities and farmers to sell the excess electricity they produce back to the national grid.
The scheme is part of the solar strategy commitment in the programme for government and contributes to the EU clean energy package. Further details of the scheme are yet to be announced.
Electric Ireland is a market leader when it comes to solar PV, and is the only supplier to offer an interest-free payment package.
One of the great things about Electric Ireland is that it is an established, well-experienced company with excellent health and safety standards and a great customer care record.
For farm installations, the energy company focuses on what suits you best and tailors its packages to your specific needs.
All the better for Irish farmers and solar PV, where the sky’s the limit.
For more information on installing rooftop Solar PV on your farm, contact Electric Ireland to request a callback.