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Fewer than 2% of dairy farms have solar PV system installed

A typical solar PV installation on a 100-cow dairy farm will supply 30% of the farm’s electricity need on an investment of €15,300

Despite solar “sparking most interest” among farmers of all the renewable energy technologies available, fewer than 2% of dairy farms in Ireland currently have a solar photovoltaic system installed.

As farmers await the introduction of a Irish Examiner in the near future, Barry Caslin, Teagasc energy and rural development specialist told the microgeneration support scheme that farmers are “getting their ducks in a row” ahead of that.

Exciting Opportunities

With “exciting opportunities” coming down the track, the way the agriculture industry produces and uses energy is “going to radically change in this country”, with a transition to renewables in the coming years, he added.

Teagasc representatives told a meeting of the Oireachtas joint committee on agriculture, food and the marine this month that opportunities for the deployment of solar PV systems that are economically beneficial for farmers have been greatest where a significant part of the energy generated is consumed on the farm, such as on dairy, pigs, and poultry, thereby offsetting “expensive grid-supplied electricity charges”.

Teagasc estimates that fewer than 2% of dairy farms currently have a solar PV system installed. There are around 18,000 dairy farms in Ireland.

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