Solar power system reduces dairy’s electricity costs
With nearly 120 hectares of mainly irrigated dairy pasture, Hastings Park is a highly productive dairy farm with a herd of 350 cows. Owned by Leo and Sue Cleary, the farm, located on the New South Wales Mid North Coast, produces up to 2.8 million litres of milk annually.
Hasting Park is one of 28 certified a2 Milk™ dairy farms across Australia selected to produce only the A2 protein and none of the A1 protein found in regular cows’ milk. The Cleary’s were eligible to apply for an a2 Milk™ Sustainable Agriculture Landcare Grant to fund a project to reduce electricity costs by installing a Solar Power System in the dairy. The Cleary’s were successful with their application, receiving $40,000 in funding.
With the addition of a Solar Power System in the dairy, the Cleary’s were aiming to reduce their electricity costs and then further reduce these costs when a Solar Power System in the dairy is added to the irrigation grid. Overall, the goal was to ensure a more financially sustainable business.
Installation of the solar panels resulted in a 12-15 per cent saving on utility costs. Leo Cleary said: “At a time when other costs, especially purchased feed have increased greatly, the savings we’re seeing are a big help.”
To learn what more they could do to save on electricity, the Cleary’s commissioned an energy audit. They have taken on board the recommendations from the audit and processes they have implemented to make better use of their solar energy, including:
- Boiling water during the day
- They used to mix feed and milk at the same time but now they do this separately so that they can utilise the solar energy for this work
- A longer-term solution will be to have a storage battery
For more info visit landcareaustralia.org.au/news/2018-a2-milk-sustainable-agriculture-landcare-grant/