Globally, energy storage has become very visible, based on its flexibility, not only in the field of rooftop solar, but also on farms, processing plants, packaging plants and any other areas that can help owners save on electricity costs, bring backup power and have a resilient energy solution.
Simon Fellows has been working with farms for decades, and through continuous improvements in farming and land development methods, his operation has grown from a small farm of 250 acres to a mega farm of 2400 acres, with the option of sun drying for smaller farms in the humid UK climate, but larger farms with higher yield requirements, Simon With 5,000 tons of cereal crops produced each year, as well as corn, beans and bright yellow rape, grain drying sheds with large ventilation fans are a must for farms.
However, large ventilators that run on three-phase electricity consume a lot of power, and Simon invested in a 45kWp solar array a few years ago in order to provide a stable and inexpensive source of power for the equipment used on the farm. Although the switch to solar power relieved Simon of the pressure of high electricity bills, 30% of the power from the solar array was wasted because no battery storage system was initially installed.
After careful research and deliberation, Simon decided to invest in a change by adding LiFePO4 solar batteries with storage to bring a new energy solution to the farm. So he approached Energy Monkey, a nearby specialist solar equipment supplier, and after a hands-on survey of the site, Simon was reassured by Energy Monkey's professionalism.
Following Energy Monkey's advice and design, Simon's farm's solar potential was fully exploited, with the original 45kWp solar array being upgraded to 226 solar panels with a capacity of nearly 100kWp. Three-phase power is provided by 3 Quattro Inverter/chargers of 15kVA, with excess power being stored in BSLBATT Lithium (LiFePo4) rack batteries which have a capacity of 61.4kWh, for overnight power supply – an arrangement which is working well and recharges rapidly each morning owning to Lithium’s high charge acceptance rate. The result was an immediate improvement in energy savings of 65%.
Simon is very pleased with the combination of the Victron inverter and the BSLBAT LiFePO4 solar battery. The BSLBATT is an approved battery brand by Victron, so the inverter can provide timely and appropriate feedback based on the battery BMS data, improving system efficiency and battery life. To be fully independent of the grid, Simon is even considering upgrading the battery capacity to 82kWh, (potentially over 100 kWh), which would allow his farm equipment and house to have continuous clean energy almost year round.
As a distributor for BSLBATT and Victron, Energy Monkey was responsible for system design, product supply and the programming and commissioning of the system, which was installed by the farm's local M+M Electrical Solutions. Energy Monkey is committed to training non-specialist electricians to the highest specifications and has invested in a training facility at its own offices.