Farming Industry To Explore Energy Storage Solutions

Energy storage and ‘behind the meter’ optimisation are the new buzz words for farmers wanting to get the most from renewable energy initiatives as the industry matures, say experts.

As the price of the kit continues to fall, innovative storage solutions are becoming more accessible and farmers are keen to take advantage,

Tom Beeley, renewable energy adviser at the CLA says: “There are still great opportunities in energy for farmers and landowners to invest in renewable energy, but now it is more about tailoring solutions to meet individual needs.

“Interest in land rental from developers of large battery storage sites, to store energy and provide grid services has largely replaced interest from solar farm developers in the last six months with National Grids ‘enhanced frequency response’ auction and other capacity market mechanisms driving a lot of interest.

“At the smaller scale, a range of technology providers have entered the market to offer ‘behind the meter’ storage at a domestic and commercial level, mostly for solar.”

Falling energy storage equipment costs, and saturated grid capacity for export are rapidly accelerating the ‘behind the meter’ storage market, adds James Hoare, from LHW Partnership, renewable energy consultants.

“Frequently, energy gets exported to the grid rather than being used on-site and this is set to change. Feed-in Tariff export payments of typically 4.91p per unit exporting to the grid, when it is used on site and combined with battery storage, you can save between 8-14p per unit.

“Rather than exporting what you cannot use immediately to the grid, you are building up more of a supply and the cost savings outweigh the grid payback.”

Mr Hoare says ‘massive global manufacturing economies of scale’ and technological innovations mean the cost of battery storage has continued to fall.

“Companies are offering some great returns, but do not rush for attractive deals,” he adds.

“To maximise storage technologies on a domestic scale, farmers need to fully understand their ‘energy load profile’ which means being aware of peak times of use as well as overall use. With storage you cannot guarantee a good return on investment until you have done a comprehensive energy use audit.”

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