IFA and Bord Gáis Energy have recently launched a new solar energy pilot. The project, which has been in development for over a year, reached a key milestone this week with the successful installation and commissioning of two farms.
Robert McBride, a poultry farmer, from Monaghan and John Murphy, a dairy farmer, from Cork are the first two working farms of what will be a 10-15 farm comprehensive pilot that will monitor and test all elements of the micro-generation process to determine what needs to change to allow farmers participate in the move towards renewable energy. The main objective of this pilot is to establish what works and the challenges that create barriers to implementation.
The project will see energy installations across a number of sectors and geographies. The farming community want to play an active part in the green agenda, and this is a very real demonstration of this commitment which also reduces cost inputs for farmers as well as helping Government deliver on the 2030 carbon reduction targets.
IFA and Bord Gáis Energy have invested a significant amount of time in this project. For rooftop solar on farms to be adopted in large numbers, there is a need for a 60% capital grant to achieve a reasonable payback. To ensure that there is successful adoption of solar, it must be clear that it does not take from any existing capital grants open to farmers.