With farming, as with any business, there are many numbers you need to stay on top of: the costs of equipment and supplies, your monthly utilities, your energy usage.
Similarly, a solar energy system can be a powerful investment for cutting your monthly costs, but the power relies on you knowing your numbers.
Once you know a few details, such as the proper size of a solar energy setup for your farm, and the amount you can expect to save at 1, 5, and 10 years from installation, you’ll see the benefits of solar as clear as day.
We have developed a calculator that allows you to do just that, the only online tool of its kind for New Zealand farms.
Read on to learn a bit more about the numbers you need to know, and try out our solar energy calculator for farms.
Important numbers — size, savings, and return on investment
First, it’s important to know the right-size solar PV system for your farm.
A solar installation is rated in terms of its energy capacity, in terms of kilowatts (kW). Using the example of a dairy, a 30kW system would produce enough energy for a large farm that owns 800 – 1000 cows and uses between 150-200kWh during a month in peak milking season.
Every farm is unique in energy requirements, and solar installations can scale up or down to any farm’s size.
Whether you're a horticulturist or winemaker who needs power for irrigation and harvesting, or you’re a dairy farmer who needs power for watering stock, charging batteries and handling produce, there's a system that's perfect for you.
Then, you need to know the amount you can expect to save. Some farms are able to see huge savings from their solar installation almost immediately, in as little as a few months.
Finally, there’s your return on investment. The numbers can give you a sense of your solar payback period — the amount of time it will take for your system to completely ‘pay for itself’. And, a properly-sized system will not only save you money, but can even allow you to store excess, unused energy in the grid, which you can sell back to your utility at a profit.
All said and done, when you crunch the numbers for a solar energy investment, you’ll see how it can make your farm more profitable overall.
The World Solar calculator for agri-business
We’re proud to introduce a great new tool that takes only seconds to use, and quickly shows the financial benefits for any farmer: our solar energy calculator for agriculture!
It’s incredibly easy to use... simply slide the scale to tell us your monthly energy expenses, type in your location, and submit. You’ll get a report that shows you the value of solar for your farm.
The report shows you the system size you'll need (in terms of power capacity and the number of solar panels), your carbon emission offset, the potential savings at 1, 5 and 10 years out, and your internal rate of return (IRR) and net profit value (NPV). With these numbers in hand, you'll get a good sense of the long term viability that solar adds to your agri-business.
It may look simple, but there is a lot going on under the hood. We’ve built the calculator with complex ‘smart’ algorithms that make calculations based on the exact location of your farm, and average daily and monthly hours of sunlight.
Also, unlike any other NZ solar installer, ours is the only calculator designed for agri-businesses of all sorts. You can be confident that the results will fit your farm, and give you a real sense of your possible solar savings.
Whether you raise livestock, maintain a garden, or make fine wine...solar energy can be your ally in making your business successful. As we continue to find for our customers, the right solar system means a more productive and more eco-friendly farm, with big cost savings on utility bills. It’s a win-win. Check out what a solar energy investment will do for your farm today.