How Can Your Farm Save Money with Renewable Energy?
The power and potential of solar energy are staggering, and one industry that has been taking advantage of this more than any other is the farming industry. The farming industry has benefitted massively from the savings associated with solar energy use.
Solar energy as an industry and technology has continued to grow exponentially, and there are now more solar farms than ever dotted around the country which has been spurred in part by advances in solar technologies and installation price drops.
For the farming industry, the primary advantage is that it allows farmers to save huge amounts of money on their soaring energy costs on things such as electric fencing and chicken coop lighting. Farms require a huge amount of energy and the chance to offset some of these energy costs with solar energy is being jumped on by farmers up and down the country. Not only is it saving farmers money, but it is stopping them from having to rely too heavily on resources such as fossil fuels which are both depleting and harmful to the environment.
Here are a few ways renewable energy can save money when used on a farm:
- It can earn you a profit – Large scale use of solar panels generates a whole lot of electricity and this can make farms an energy generator as well as an energy consumer. By investing in large-scale use of solar panels, you can generate more power than you need and sell the surplus back to the power grid. Although this is not technically ‘saving’ money, it is a nice little earner and the money made can be put towards your remaining energy bills. There are many initiatives out there that enable farmers and even householders to sell their solar energy back to them, which the power companies then sell directly to the consumer. Not only does this earn these people a little extra money, but it also contributes towards the global effort of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
- It can eliminate energy bills – If you generate enough renewable energy through your large-scale use of solar panels, it could completely wipe out all your energy bills. Many people do not appreciate the sheer potential for solar power yet, in many cases, it can generate enough electricity to power entire homes, especially during the summer when the sun is strong and the days are long.
- It can replace the need for gas and oil heaters – Commercial greenhouses typically rely on oil or gas heaters to maintain the greenhouse’s temperature, especially during winter, and this can have a very large cost associated with it. Both gas and oil are expensive commodities that are literally burned to produce heat. Solar energy can be used to heat up greenhouses in the same way, so long as the greenhouse has good exposure to the sun and lots of large, transparent glass or PVC windows.
- It can provide a remote energy supply – Because farms are often located in more remote parts of the country, electrical power lines do not always reach them. In these cases, farmers must rely on expensive generators to produce the power needed to operate their farm. In contrast to this, solar panels can be placed virtually anywhere on a farm and do not require access to the main power grid to function. Because solar panels are low-maintenance and highly reliable, this makes them a very cost-effective, clean, and hassle-free alternative to using generators.
It is not all about solar energy, however, and there are other methods of renewable energy out there. Wind-powered energy makes use of wind turbines attached to generators, creating power and distributing it to the main power grid. Many farmers are making use of wind energy and there are even dedicated ‘wind farms’ which produce massive amounts of renewable energy.
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The primary benefit of wind energy over solar energy is that wind turbines do not take up nearly as much space as solar panels. Solar panels require a large amount of space whereas wind turbines sit up in the air atop huge poles. When used on agricultural farms, farmers will typically plant crops around them so as to minimize their impact on the farm whilst still benefitting from them.
As governments and power companies are beginning to invest more in renewable energy, there is plenty of opportunity for large-scale industries such as farming to reap the rewards. These do not just include the potential to save money on your commercial energy bills, but the opportunity to earn large sums of money by selling power back to the power companies. A large-scale solar or wind energy farm will produce huge amounts of electricity, in some cases far more than you would ever need on your farm, and all this excess energy both earns you money and helps the planet in the long-term, which is what solar energy is all about.