Roof-mounted solar PV schemes with battery storage are back in the spotlight as farmers and landowners seek to cut their electricity bills by reducing the amount of energy they need to buy in.
It is estimated that the cost of electricity to supply an average dairy farm using approx. 83,000kWh a year has risen by 102% in the past 12 months, highlighting the need for farms which consume high levels of electricity to look at their options.
The rise in electricity charges is mainly down to increases in global wholesale energy prices, although the UK energy market has also been affected by some local challenges. These include low winds reducing the amount of renewable energy produced, outages at some nuclear power stations and a fire at a National Grid site in Kent which has knocked out a power cable that runs between England and France used to import electricity from the continent.
The financial feasibility of investing in a new solar PV system will vary depending on how much energy is consumed on site.
The Strutt & Parker energy team can carry out energy reviews for individuals and farm businesses to analyse their consumption profile and investigate their options for new renewable energy technologies.
This may be a simple desk-based exercise, which looks at an individual farm or site to consider the renewable options, the financial feasibility and the payback calculation.
Alternatively, it can be a more involved process involving a full site survey and structural analysis to look at both the buildings and electrical metering. This will enable us to drill into more detail on system design, recommended equipment, electrical connections, cable runs, trenching and scaffolding requirements.
We have recently carried out a review for a large agricultural business, using substantial amounts of energy across several sites.
We advised there is an opportunity for 3,245kW of solar PV to be installed on buildings which will result in significant annual costs savings for the business and an annual carbon saving of 715t.