Video: Machinery shed roof ‘harvesting power’ in Longford

Longford beef and pig farmer Dermot Brady has been taking steps to reduce his energy bills while also improving his farm’s carbon footprint.

Based in Carrickboy, Co. Longford, the Brady’s were building a machinery shed and decided they would ‘go the extra mile’ and make their shed work for them.

Speaking to AgriLand, Dermot explained: “We have to be doing something for our carbon footprint; It’s the way things are going.”

He noted that the farm’s pig enterprise would “have a big pull on power” so it was decided the Brady’s would look into measures to cut energy bills.

We were informed that by installing solar panels, we would have our repayment on it in five years so we just gave it a go to see how we do.

Dermot noted that the instillation was hassle free: “The company that installed the panels had them fitted in about a week and they were up and running in about a week and a half.”

The panels span the length of a 10-bay shed.

“We put them in last July and it was a great summer so there was a good result from them during our first year on them.”

Dermot explained that he has an app on his phone which allows him to keep an eye on their energy output.

“The app tells you exactly what’s happening. It tells you how much power is coming off your panels and how much is coming off your grid.”

He noted that there is “definitely a big saving”.

Dermot outlined that they have no battery to store the energy created because “there’s such a demand here in the piggery so it just feeds direct into our power and the grid feeds up whatever the solar panels can’t do”.

He outlined that the solar panels involved an investment of over €100,000. However, the current grant in place of 30% left the panels an “ever more attractive option”.

Concluding, Dermot explained that there’s not much maintenance with them. “They’re simply a glass panel on the roof that is self cleaning. You wouldn’t even see them.”