Goodbye, Diesel. Hello, Solar. – CleanTechnica

How do you make a difference and a profit in Australia’s dairy industry? The answer is shining in your face. John and Rochelle Pekin have made the move from relying on a fragile grid and a smelly backup diesel generator to solar + batteries. Goodbye, diesel. Hello, solar and batteries.

Energy Renaissance, pioneers in the design and manufacturing of Australian lithium battery technology, will power their 450-hectare property in Simpson, Victoria, with a 520 kWh Renaissance superRack™ battery refilled daily by a 250 kW rooftop solar system.

Nick d’Avoine, General Manager of Farming the Sky (Commpower Industrial), whose company installed the Energy Renaissance batteries, says: “The new solar and battery system will reduce the Nikep Dairy Farm’s reliance on grid electricity by up to 95 percent, and it is expected to decrease their energy and fuel bills by $70,000 annually.”

Energy Renaissance team. Photo courtesy Energy Renaissance.

With 950 cows, the farm had unpleasantly relied on unreliable grid electricity and diesel to power its operations for milking and cooling milk, and effluent management. The solar + battery system has enabled the Nikep Dairy Farm to be powered almost entirely by renewables. As a result, the dairy farm recently received the Natural Resource and Sustainability Management Award from the Dairy Australia Great Southwest Dairy Awards.

The owners, fourth-generation dairy farmers John and Rochelle Pekin, said: “Dairy farming is highly energy-intensive and relying on grid electricity meant we were at the mercy of rising electricity costs that would impact our profitability. Having batteries also provides us with energy security, knowing that we can continue to operate in the event of a grid outage. In addition, the batteries can keep our cows being milked twice daily. Investing in clean energy goes beyond economic considerations for us as dairy farmers. We want to inspire others to do something now because we’re making our farm more sustainable, which is better for the environment.”

John & Rochelle Pekin. Photo courtesy Gabriel Wong.

The Nikep Dairy Farm is now tracking towards becoming carbon-neutral, selling milk to processors who reward low-carbon producers with better prices and unlocking new opportunities by selling carbon credits generated by the Farming the Sky solutions.

Australian superRack batteries. Photo courtesy Gabriel Wong.

Nick d’Avoine added: “The Victorian Government is leading the way with the On-Farm Action Plan program that gives grants farmers to invest in technologies to reduce their carbon emissions, including renewable energy. This will allow dairy farmers like the Nikeps to deliver a more economically and environmentally sustainable milk supply with a reduced carbon footprint.”

Brian Craighead, Founder of Energy Renaissance, said, “We are delighted that Nikep Dairy Farm has decided to install our Australian superRack™ batteries. Working with CSIRO, we spent years perfecting our batteries for challenging environments like this, and it’s fantastic to see all that effort translate into lower costs, lower emissions and a more sustainable operation.”

The sky is the limit for this farm, and that’s no bull!


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