Wednesday, 15 September 2021 08:55

Farms to generate solar power

Written by  Staff Reporters
Solagri plans to construct solar arrays and batteries on Kiwi dairy farms. Solagri plans to construct solar arrays and batteries on Kiwi dairy farms.

A start-up solar energy business says recent developments in the energy sector make it a sound investment.

Solagri managing director Peter Saundes says record wholesale energy prices, recent power outages in the North Island and the United Nations declaring "code red for humanity" on climate change make it timely to invest in electricity generation and storage.

Saunders says Solagri had a successful first week on PledgeMe as it raises funds to contruct solar arrays and batteries on Kiwi dairy farms.

"Dairy prices have come off a little, but they are still 24% higher than at the same time last year.

"Building big solar arrays beside dairy sheds to help protect them from future electricity shortages makes sense.

"It also makes sense to deploy large batteries into those farms to support the dairy operation in the summer months and to support the grid in the winter months by shifting energy from the daytime to the overnight demand peaks.

"It's very hard to think of a better time to bring a new electricity generation and storage system to the New Zealand market," says Saunders.

"We have overall steadily increasing demand, pressure to move vehicles from oil to EV, pressure to move our large industrial heat users like milk dryers off coal, pressure to reduce our use of old coal generators, low lake levels and no new hydro capacity on the drawing board."

Saunders points out that recently New Zealand set a new record wholesale energy price.

"The price Kiwis pay for their electricity includes the wholesale energy price in their region and the retailers mark-up," he says.

On August 16, cold temperatures collided with a few other variables like low wind to produce a spot price that exceeded $11,000/megawatt/hour (MWh).

"It was only for one hour, but to put that in context, the wholesale price of electricity is normally around $115 per MWh at present. The wholesale energy price in New Zealand been regularly spiking over $600 MWh recently.

"If that price had been passed through to consumers, it would have cost you around $4.35 to boil a kettle."

He says because of energy supply and demand issues, Transpower stopped supply to customers for a few hours.

Saunders says while the events that coincided to cause this are rare, several industry experts came out to warn Kiwis that these supply outages are more likely into the future.

"Basically, our demand continues to grow and we have been too slow to build significant new generation capacity to keep up with this growth."

More like this

Savings showered by the sun

A Woodville, Tararua dairy farmer is halving his dairy shed power bill with a solar power system he will pay for in six years. And it has no batteries. Peter Burke reports.

Solar an answer

Getting mains power to remote stock troughs can run to $80,000 a kilometre, says solar power specialist Alastair Frizzell, of Frizzell Agricultural Electronics, of Kirwee, Canterbury.

Give up farming, generate power

Farmers installing solar power can now get a better return from it than from farming itself, a solar power installer claims.

Solar power sends water to paddocks

The development of a solar powered pumping system has opened up possibilities for farmers looking for a guaranteed water supply to outlying areas of the farm, which are often not connected to the national grid.


MIQ still a barrier

Dairy farmers can now apply to recruit much needed overseas farm assistants and herd managers.

Next step in governance

A partnership between Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) has led to the…

Kill the cull cows now

If you're thinking about whether you should cull a few cows, err on the side of caution by doing it…

Machinery & Products

Solution for rowdy cattle

Having walked away with a Fieldays Innovation Award and a useful cheque back in June, Springarm Products has recently signed…

Next generation swathers

Claas' latest generation of seven, dual-rotor central LINER swathers are said to offer numerous innovative features and functions to ensure…

Below ground fert server

Bavarian fertiliser spreader manufacturer Rauch is testing a prototype unit for depositing fertiliser in row crops to depths of 10…

Press screw separator

Probably best known for its chopping units that form an integral part of many manufacturers’ umbilical effluent spreading and injection…

Hydrogen power to cut emissions

While the automobile industry heads full tilt down the electrification route, heavier industries such as trucking and construction appear to…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Forrest moves into milk

OPINION: Australia's richest man Andrew Forrest has quietly bought a 6.6% stake in one of the country's biggest milk processors,…

The wait continues

OPINION: The wait continues for farmers and contractors looking forward to welcoming overseas workers in the coming weeks.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter