Why You Should Have Solar PV Panels for your Farm
Here are some considerations and benefits when using solar PV panels for farms:
Cost Savings & Income Generation
Solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate electricity bills for a farm by generating free electricity from the sun's energy.
In some regions, excess electricity generated by the solar panels can be sold back to the grid, generating additional income for the farm.
Environment Impact & Stable Energy Costs
Solar energy is clean and renewable, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
By investing in solar, farms can hedge against future electricity price increases, as the sun's energy is free and abundant.
Remote Power Generation & Low Mentainance
Solar panels can be installed in remote areas where grid access might be challenging, providing power to critical equipment and infrastructure.
Solar panels require minimal maintenance, typically consisting of occasional cleaning and inspections.
Grants - TAMS support
If eligible, the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) provides a 40% grant on a solar PV investment, while young qualified farmers can get up to 60% in grant aid. PV installers need to be on the SEAI register of installers or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) approved list.
Considerations: Solar PV Panels for your Farm
Orientation and Tilt
Proper orientation and tilt angle of the solar panels can optimize energy generation. South-facing panels with a tilt angle close to the latitude of the location are generally recommended for maximum output.
Regulations and Permits
Check local regulations, permits, and zoning requirements for solar panel installations. Some areas might have specific guidelines for solar systems on agricultural land.
Using solar PV panels on farms can not only contribute to a more sustainable energy future but also provide economic benefits in the form of reduced energy costs and potential income generation.
Hercuglas Renewables Work - Solar PV Panels Ground
In a solar panel system, the ground typically consists of a grounding electrode, such as a ground rod or a grounding plate, that is connected to the electrical system's grounding conductor. The grounding conductor is a copper wire that runs from the solar panels to the ground electrode.
The purpose of grounding in a solar panel system is to provide a path for electrical current to flow into the ground in the event of a fault or surge, effectively redirecting the dangerous current away from the system and preventing damage or harm. It helps to stabilize the system's electrical potential and reduces the risk of electric shock or fire.
VAT (flat rate farmers) - TAMS support
Since January 1, 2012 a flat rate farmer can claim back the VAT incurred on the purchase of a solar PV system, which is designed to be used mainly or solely in his or her farming business. The PV system must be named on Triple E Product Register. This Register is the public database maintained by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) containing a list of products which comply with the energy efficiency criteria of that Authority. It can be accessed at the SEAI website: www.seai.ie. The claim is made through the Revenue Commissioners VAT 58 form
TAMS support is now available to support up to 11kW solar PV on dairy, beef, tillage and sheep farms. This complements the 40% support already available to the pig and poultry sector through the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme 40%, which is not limited to 11kW.
Farmers should check their insurances to ensure that they have cover for such work. They should insist on seeing datasheets of the technology being installed, and get written confirmation of place of manufacture and warranties with exclusions.
Another key issue is business reputation and robustness, as some installer companies sail close to the edge financially. Farmers need to pay deposits to companies which are solid and going to be around for the long term. Farmers need assurances that purchased panels are warranted against ammonia erosion, especially on pig and poultry units. See the TAMS section of the DAFM website for full terms and conditions.
Once you have bought your solar PV panels, the maintenance and operating costs are small. The panels and inverters will require cleaning approximately every 10 years. Panel output should be expected to fall at a rate of 1% per year. The financial return is mainly tied up with the value and amount of energy generated.
The main part of this is derived from the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff, which would pay a set amount of money per kWh of electrical energy generated. The Republic of Ireland does not have any feed-in tariff for solar PV at present. A feed-in tariff would normally be paid by a registered electricity company of your choice and would be determined at the time of application, according to the technology and the size of installation you have. In some countries you can receive a feed-in tariff regardless of whether you export or use the electricity yourself. These tariffs are generally linked to inflation for periods of 15-20 years.
5 STEPS TO INSTALLING HERCUGLAS RENEWABLES SYSTEM
- We will visit the location to assess the site's suitability for solar panel installation. Factors such as sun exposure, shading, roof condition, and available space will be evaluated.
- We will design the solar panel system based on the site assessment, energy consumption, and specific requirements. This includes determining the number and placement of solar panels, inverter capacity, and electrical wiring configuration.
Before installation, permits and approvals may be required from local authorities, homeowner associations, or utility companies. The installer will handle the necessary paperwork and ensure compliance with local regulations and building codes.
- The solar panels and associated mounting hardware will be installed on the roof or ground, following the design specifications.
- Wiring will be run from the panels to the inverter, which is typically installed near the electrical service panel.
- Proper grounding and electrical connections will be made to ensure safety and code compliance.
- The inverter, which converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into AC electricity used in homes or businesses, will be connected to the electrical service panel.
- A net meter, if required by the utility, may be installed to measure the electricity produced and fed back into the grid.
- The system will undergo thorough electrical testing to ensure proper functionality and compliance with electrical standards.
A final inspection will be conducted by the local building department or relevant authority to verify that the installation meets safety and code requirements.
Once the system passes inspection, it can be activated and connected to the electrical grid.
The installer may provide instructions on monitoring the system's performance and may assist with any necessary paperwork for interconnection agreements or net metering.
Charge your EV from home with solar
Electric vehicle technology is changing all the time, particularly battery capacity, making it a more appealing option for drivers. With more of us switching to electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint, having the ability to charge your car at home, and using surplus solar energy for free motoring, via an electric vehicle charging point, is a great way of keeping your transportation cost-effective and emissions-free.
A low maintenance solution
Solar PV systems are an easy upgrade to your property that can also add considerable value. Once installed, there’s very little maintenance required – aside from check-ups to ensure the system is working effectively, you shouldn’t need to replace your panels or inverter for 25-30 years.