With the continuing increase in the cost of electrical power from the grid, the demand for stand-alone renewable energy systems is on the rise. Similarly, dairy Farmers who are looking to save money should definitely consider switching to solar power.
The benefit of installing solar panels on a dairy farm is that they absorb sunlight that reacts with their embedded silicon crystals, producing electricity. Solar power is free and easy to harness, reliable, and highly versatile. Furthermore, it also presents a money-making opportunity as the surplus power can be sold back to the grid.
If you're a dairy farmer who has reservations about solar power and its benefits, then this guide will show you what you're missing out on.
What is Solar Power?
In short, solar power is the energy that is derived from the Sun's constant output.
Solar panels absorb the Sun's rays and react with their embedded silicon crystals, producing electricity that can be utilized on the dairy farm and even fed into the National Grid.
If that sounds overly simplistic, that's because it is. Solar power is free from the complicated rigamarole of fossil fuel burning and the harmful gases emitted from conventional electricity production.
Solar power is simple, free, renewable, and reliable - properties that are all needed in agriculture.
Uses For Solar Energy on Dairy Farms
Solar energy is extremely versatile and can be used to cover almost all of your bases. For example, you can use solar power to generate electricity to run farming tools and machines and perform other tasks such as heating water, etc.
Additionally, solar energy can be stored in batteries or thermal storage to provide lighting during the nighttime.
Think about the amount of energy that is needed to power even a small dairy farm. Water heating alone makes up a large percentage of a dairy farm’s total energy expenditure, and switching this to a source that is 100% renewable will save farmers a fortune in the long run and contribute to the well-being of the planet at the same time.
There’s no shortage of the wonders that solar power can provide to your dairy farm. The abundance of heating, lighting and cooling needed to produce high-quality milk costs the average farmer thousands in electrical bills.
Farmers can utilize their naturally-large roof spaces for solar panel installation and integrate them into their lives without much hassle.
Powering even a medium-sized dairy farm requires a huge amount of energy, and some farmers are still reliant on antiquated power sources such as propane and electricity.
Solar panels can generate enormous amounts of power from even a few hours’ worths of sunshine and still have excess energy left to cover for inclement weather.
If you're using electricity to power the lighting in your shed or home, then solar power is a great replacement. If you're considering using solar power to fuel your hydraulic-based irrigation systems, then you've made a great decision.
Not only will you save a fortune on electricity costs, but you'll also be contributing to the well-being of the planet.
You can also leverage solar power for the more remote elements of your property. As a dairy farmer, you likely have an electrified fence running along the perimeter of your property.
It's likely expensive due to the constant electricity and large size, and powering this via solar is a much more sensible alternative.
What Will I Gain From Using Solar Power on My Dairy Farm?
Solar power allows you to get creative. You can utilize it in whichever way you desire, and there's no limit to its uses on your farm. Anything electricity can do, solar power can do just as well.
Although solar panel installation can take time and cost money, you’ll soon discover that the equipment pays for itself.
Dairy farmers who have transitioned to solar power have reported saving thousands of dollars in just a few short years after implementing it.
Furthermore, having on-site energy in abundance presents a money-making opportunity as excess energy can be sold back to the National Grid.
Another obvious advantage of solar power is that it is great for the environment.
Renewable energy is Earth's next big revolution, and it will save the environment from further damage, leading to a healthier and greener planet in the long run. Farmers stand to benefit enormously from renewable energy due to their constant demand for it and their high power usage.
Check out this video showing how solar energy installations can help reduce power consumption from the grid during daylight hours up to 70%.
Everything from milk production to electric fence operation can be powered entirely by solar. Although there is a high initial cost of switching to green energy, having on-site power can help put the power of farming back into the hands of landowners.
Solar power is truly a win-win situation for dairy farmers. It presents massive rewards for minimal risk, and there are several real-world examples of the benefits farmers have enjoyed after switching to renewable energy.
Will Solar Panels Take Up all the Space on My Farm?
Although solar panels tend to be large, there's no reason why they should take up all of your agricultural space.
Solar panel installers build the panels relative to your farm's size and shape and always make sure that the space between them is usable.
Do Solar Panels Require Constant Maintenance?
Absolutely not. In fact, a good solar panel can last you up to 25 years with little maintenance in between. Solar panels are well-constructed and will likely last you the vast majority of your working life.
What Are the Financial Benefits of Solar Power?
Solar power is much more affordable than electricity. In fact, solar power is free altogether.
The Sun's power doesn't cost anything and shows up in the sky every single day, making solar power the obvious choice if you're looking to save money.
You can save 100% of the money you would spend on electricity by switching to clean, renewable energy. Considering how expensive it is to run even a modest dairy farm, farmers will be looking at massive savings if they switch to solar power.
Dairy Farmers can even make money from solar power.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of solar power is that landowners can make money whilst substantially reducing their overheads.
The excess energy that a farmer makes can easily be sold back to the grid for a profit. In these tough economic times, having another revenue stream is so important.
A solar powered-farm is an investment for tomorrow. Clean energy is the future, and a farm, committed to solar energy and has invested in its practices, is a more promising rural business than one that isn't.
If you're determined to make your farm profitable for future generations, then switch out the electric power for the much more attractive and lucrative solar power instead.
Conclusion - Solar Power Can be the Future of Dairy Farming - If We Allow It
Initial costs aside, there are no drawbacks to switching to solar energy to power your dairy farm.
It's better for the environment, cheaper, more reliable, and will save you a fortune in bills and other business overheads. Furthermore, it opens up a whole new pathway for profits and will make your farm a more attractive prospect for the potential buyers of the future.
Although solar power is being widely implemented on a large scale, it still has work to do before it goes mainstream and becomes widespread. With today's world being such a critical time for our environment, renewable energy needs to be our future.
It can be our future if we allow it. As we wake up to the realities of fossil fuels, dairy farmers worldwide must realize how beneficial, clean energy is to not only our futures but the futures of generations to come.
Milner, Samantha. “Solar Power for Dairy Farms - Uses, Perks, and How to Get Started.” World, www.worldsolar.co.nz/blog/solar-power-for-dairy-farms-uses-perks-and-how-to-get-started.