Solar PV: Cost-effective solution for heating water and reducing electricity bills
Rooftop solar PV offers farmers a reliable and cost-effective solution for heating water from renewable electricity generation.
This was said by Local Power Ltd, the experts in solar PV and battery storage systems for farms and businesses.
Traditionally, farmers have used night rate electricity as the most economic solution for heating water for the day ahead.
Rooftop solar PV has now become a complementary and cost-effective solution for generating renewable electricity for the farm, with surplus generated during the day directed towards heating water – which is going to be required in increasing quantities on dairy farms going forward.
Dependable supply of renewable electricity
Solar PV enjoys attractive grant options and qualifies for 100% tax write off in the year of installation and full VAT refunds.
Farmers will see a payback of less than five years on their solar PV investment and enjoy a dependable supply of renewable electricity for over 30 years, making it probably one of the best investments that any farmer can make to improve their sustainability credentials.
Solar PV is a well proven technology with very predictable generation over the year and, with no moving parts, there are little maintenance costs.
Renewable energy generation performance can be monitored on a smart device providing live and historical insight on energy use on the farm – which is very valuable information.
There are two options for securing a grant for a solar PV system; either through a Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) grant from the Department of Agriculture (40% and 60% for qualifying young farmers) or a 30% BEC grant from the Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
There are several restrictions with TAMS which make the BEC grant a better option on some farms. Local Power Ltd will take you through the pros and cons and, once a decision is made, its team will get the grant paperwork done and ESB approvals progressed, etc.
For most farms Local Power Ltd is suggesting a two-stage approach to solar PV investment.
Stage 1 is to install solar PV for self consumption on the farm/home, with any surplus generated diverted for water heating or to battery storage to act as a buffer between generation and usage.
Typically, solar PV systems sized correctly should be able to displace at between 20% and 50% of bought-in electricity in stage 1.
Stage 2 is to increase the solar PV install to generate more of the farms requirements once the option for selling surplus to the grid is introduced.
The option for exporting surplus renewable energy generation is being progressed by the Government and will be in place within 12-18 months.
However, the economics are still unknown and we hope the farm organisations are working hard to ensure that it will be economic for farmers to export electricity to the grid.
Solar PV is also an ideal technology option for robotic dairy, poultry and pig farms which are very significant users of electricity.
As the electricity demands are more constant throughout the day on these farm types it’s possible to size a system to meet those higher demands, ensuring that there is little or no surplus generated.
With Local Power Ltd, it promises to give its clients the best possible advice from extensive practical knowledge available to it, and offers a number of technology options ensuring full transparency on warranties, etc.
Local Power Ltd also provides a funded option for farmers where the loan is secured solely against the install asset and the repayments made from the energy savings secured over a three to seven-year period.