This is nothing new really as my Grandfather used to have one quarter of the area of the farm to produce the hay and grain to produce the food and energy for the horses that did all the work on the farm, the manure was used to provide the fertiliser.
In 2006 a Biomass boiler was fitted to heat the house and offices using grain screenings and/or woodchip as the fuel. This has also been supported with a 45% Low Carbon Building Grant, which was completed in June 2007.
A 450 kw biomass (Rape straw) boiler to provide heat for drying the grain. This did break even in 2012.
We use £560 worth of rape straw instead of £5-6,000 on LPG gas, but the capital cost was £15,000 instead of £1,500 for gas burner.
The roof to the new grain store has 252 PV panels 400 sq. m (46.2 kw max. output) which will produce about 30,000 Kilo Watt Hours (kWh) over a period of 12 months. This will go some way to providing the annual power requirement the farm needs and is enough power for 7 domestic houses over a year as a comparison.
Unfortunately it will not provide our total requirement so we will still have to buy some electricity off the national grid, but at least it means we will not now be totally vulnerable to electricity price increases and can now fairly confidently fix a good proportion of our needs for the next 20 years hopefully.
This should pay for itself after 6 years.
We are hoping to be able to show the daily generated power so please keep checking back here for more up to date information and we will also be adding some detail as to what system we are generating.
in 2015 we generated over 60,000 Kwh and exported in access of 26,000 Kwh.
Although we do not adhere regularly to a carbon footprint but we know that our electricity is less than half what it was in October 07 @ 12.9p / unit to May 09 @ 5.12p / unit.
Water consumption is about 1000 cu m annually at a cost of £1000 / year including the house.
Gas oil is more difficult to calculate as the grain drier also uses gas oil but we purchased 36,000 lts in 2012, (110 lts / h total) and 30,000 Lts in 2013 and only 23,600 Lts in 2015.
We have also fitted rainwater harvesting where we store all the water off some of the farm buildings to use for applying the pesticides to the total hectareage. We have not used any mains water this season for spraying any crops but using 140,000 Lts of our harvested water instead.
In 2013 we looked at the possibility of a Vergnet 275Kw turbine to produce electricity to be fed direct into the grid, or later we might produce Anhydrous Ammonia (fertiliser for our own crops) or in the long term we may even be able to produce Hydrogen. This project was halted when planning permission was refused.