Activ8 Presenting on FarmGen - ISEA 2020
With a wide range of solar projects ongoing in Activ8 Solar Energies, it’s great that we were able to switch topics. Having most recently presented on the topic of domestic solar, we were able to bring our learnings forward on the FarmGen project. An initiative we’ve collaborated on with Glanbia Ireland and SSE Airtricity to great effect. As Ireland’s solar experts, we were in a great position to help Glanbia Ireland bring a renewable offering to life for their agricultural customers. On top of this, the third arm of the partnership, SSE Airtricity offering preferential electricity rates, with the added bonus of said supply being 100% green energy*.
With installations in 2019 and further installations this year, we have learned a number of things on the FarmGen initiative as well as thankfully having numerous expectations confirmed in reality. Our Commercial Manager, Gary Connolly, presented on these findings on the second day of the ISEA Solar Conference 2020 from the comfort of our head office.
Firstly, he discussed the predictable, high usage periods of a dairy farm based around milking times. The morning milking is followed by a low midday demand on energy giving us an inverse usage curve versus the standard solar production curve. We have worked with farmers and the sizing of their systems accordingly. It is great that we can depend on the smart monitoring systems installed on-site to give us this feedback at a circuit level. By using this midday energy to heat the hot water cylinder on-site and have it ready for the evening milking, it maximises the use and efficiency of the system.
Sizing the System
We have encountered farmers throughout this initiative who are keen to oversize their system without proper understanding of the usage curve against standard solar production patterns.
Rather than sizing the system for peak usage, there is a better optimal level towards which a system should be specified. Just as we do for all of our domestic and commercial solar PV clients, we always qualify and research their usage to better understand their need. This allows us to consistently size the system appropriately.
As you can see in the graph above, the optimal sized system brings more efficiency and ultimately, better value for the farmer.
Gary then discussed some minor issues with the funding side and recommendations we would make to help improve the scheme, from a solar perspective in particular.
If you wish to learn more about FarmGen, or have a project in mind that Solar PV may suit, then just get in touch.