Move Your Farm Off-Grid With These Alternative Power SourcesWednesday, February 15, 2017
Whether it’s through a desire to be greener, reduce energy bills or simply have another source of energy so you’re not over reliant on one, many farms are looking into different options for alternative energy sources. With a myriad of different choices out there, you may want to combine two or more of these options as a way of generating all the energy you need to power your farm. Here are a few of the different energy options you have.
When people think of renewable energy, this is often the one that first springs to mind. However, solar power doesn’t simply consist of whacking a couple of panels of your roof and waiting for the energy to start flowing in. Obviously, if you live in an area where the sun shines down on a regular basis, you will experience more benefits from this energy source. The advantage of solar power is that it doesn’t require any moving parts or particular maintenance. The obvious downside is the cost, and very few farms will find themselves being able to totally power themselves using only this energy source. You may want to consider this as being part of the solution rather than the whole thing.
Running alongside renewable energy sources, generators can help provide the reliability that many farms crave. Power failures and poor power quality are just two of the many reasons farmers need to consider diesel generators as a power source. Diesel generators provide a higher level of fuel efficiency than their petrol counterparts, and can give that level of power consistency that many rural farmers crave.
Countries are now turning to wind power to be their main source of renewable energy, and it could be the energy source for you. Before installing turbines, you should get in touch with your local weather service to get an estimate of how much electricity each system will produce. Size matters when it comes to picking the right turbine. A 10,000 watt turbine is enough to power a whole house but is often mounted on a tower more than 100 feet tall. The obvious disadvantage is that if the wind isn’t blowing, no electricity will be being generated. Unlike solar power, there will be more moving parts in need of maintenance and there is an increased risk of failure.
This is probably the least known of the four, but can be the most effective if you have access to a supply of water which is constantly flowing. Microhydro power is generated from water flowing from a high to a low place. This can be extremely cost effective as you will be generating power 24 hours a day and studies have shown that water power can generate between 10 and 100 times more electricity than the equivalent capital investment in wind power. However, you will require that initial source which many farms may not have, so this is where the obvious hitch in the plan causes a problem.