It is clear that the continued genuine interest in renewables is changing from the concept of generating cash to one of using on site generation to reduce the cost of purchased electricity. Perhaps the recent announcement that Npower will increase their electricity prices by up to 15% has increased that focus. We talked with one dairy farmer who advised that he had just signed a three year contract with a major electricity supplier at £0.19/unit plus a standing charge of £0.24/day.
A number of visitors asked us to undertake an energy demand analysis on their chicken shed or dairy unit to identify how and when they were using electricity. This led into a lot of interest in our ability to integrate solar PV with battery storage and intelligent control systems especially suited to laying poultry units. Here we use excess electricity generation from the solar array during the day to charge a battery unit which then provides the power to run the shed through the evening, night and early morning. On milking units we can provide the power for the morning and evening milking with solar PV generation during the day. On bad weather or short winter days we can recharge the batteries with "cheap" electricity from the grid between midnight and 4:00am.
The Agricultural Manager from a major UK Bank who has historically funded many of our clients projects said that she was close to insisting that an application for a loan to put up a new poultry unit must include a renewable energy source and energy efficiency measures as it would increase the profitability of the unit and therefore the Bank's security.
Interest in our PowerSpout hydro-electric turbines was also strong with many visitors taking away our micro hydro design and viability information. These small systems are not designed to generate large sums of cash. Instead they supply a modest amount of electricity to your house and buildings 24/7 over the winter months, or even all year around if you have sufficient water.