a

Press & Blog

Harnessing Solar Power on a Dairy Farm

AT A GLANCE

Ian & Cath Ratcliffe recently invested in a solar array to power their farm, but they quickly became frustrated as they couldn’t use all the energy it generates. By investing in 3 x 12kWh Powervault P4 batteries, they are now able to store their excess energy and save it for later. This reduces their energy bills, allows them to better monitor their energy usage, and brings them closer to their aim of increased energy self-sufficiency.

BACKGROUND

Ian and Cath Ratcliffe are committed to sustainability at West Webbery Farm; they invested in solar PV in 2020. The installed solar array generates ~50,000kWh annually. However, they were frustrated to be exporting some of this energy to the grid for no benefit. Consequently, Ian and Cath wanted to find a way of making use of this excess generation, with their ultimate goal of making the farm as energy self-sufficient as possible. Installing battery storage was the natural next step and would allow them to store the excess energy generated by the solar and have the additional benefit of allowing them to monitor the farms energy consumption in far greater detail. They approached Powervault for a bespoke benefit analysis and turnkey solution.

OBJECTIVES

  1. Reduce Energy Costs
  2. Increase Self-sufficiency
  3. Reduce carbon footprint
  4. Monitor consumption in real-time and across phases

Solution

By undertaking an analysis of their consumption and generation, Powervault were able to provide Ian & Cath with a bespoke capacity recommendation of three 12kWh Powervault P4 batteries. Ian and Cath were also interested to learn that by charging the Powervaults from the grid overnight, they can store cheaper, and typically greener, energy from the grid that can be used to offset the more expensive energy offered at peak times. Currently, the Powervaults are being fully utilised enabling the farm to consume >90% of the energy they generate. Furthermore, they have also helped shift 50% of the energy they purchase into their off-peak rate, further reducing their bills.

Another feature of the P4 battery storage system is the Powervault Portal. The portal provides a wealth of information to Ian and Cath regarding the battery charge, discharge, and their energy consumption.

They have already been able to use the Powervault portal to consider load-balancing on the farm to increase their energy efficiency. The information offered by the portal will also be important for making decisions on future investments to further increase their energy self-sufficiency.

Key Metrics – 1st three months post installation

  • >90% of solar power generated is now consumed on the farm
  • >£1,000 saved by storing the excess solar energy and cheaper “off-peak” energy
  • ~6-7 year payback time if energy prices remain level

 

I’VE BEEN REALLY IMPRESSED WITH MY POWERVAULTS AND PARTICULARLY WITH THE PORTAL. IT’S REALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE AND I LOVE SHOWING THE PORTAL TO MY COLLEAGUES. I CAN’T RECOMMEND THEM ENOUGH.

Ian Ratcliffe

 

The winds of charge – how a UK dairy farm is combining wind power with Powervault battery storage

Powervault Celebrates Government Decision to Extend VAT Exemption to Retrofitted Battery Energy Storage Systems