Meander Valley Gazette

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Harvesting the sun

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment

JULY 2018 | David Claridge

FOR GENERATIONS farms have provided paddocks for cattle to feed on, now the paddocks can be utilised in a different way.

Wet and windy weather didn’t deter the hundred or so visitors to a Sun Farming Open Day at Bracknell in June.

The McLauchlans’ property recently had a 99kW solar array constructed which was on display to promote using farmland for ‘sun farming’ by Xenergy.

Property owner, Andrew McLauchlan is confident about the long term positives of the project.

“We’ll be able to control our energy costs in an environment where rising energy prices seem to be a consistent part of farming life, and once the system is paid off we’ll have an income stream that will assist with school fees for our two boys.” he said.

Visitors came from across the state to see the set up and hear about how they too could become involved.

From Rural Bank, Dean Lalor discussed the solar system modelling showing that the system’s income generation capability made funding of the asset a cash flow positive investment from day one in most cases.

Mark Barnett from Xenergy, who installed the solar display, shared with visitors how every site is different and so are everyone’s circumstances and requirements.

“We apply a great deal of thoughtful planning and expertise to ensure the customers return on the investment and expectations are assured,” he said.

“The current network regulations are seriously holding back on-farm investment in Sun Farming,

“For a farmer to not be permitted to utilise the energy they generate at one meter on their farm across all their other meters is akin to buying a tractor and only being able to use it in one paddock.”

Xenergy is a Launceston-based Solar Power Company that provides a variety of solar power related services to the agricultural, commercial and residential markets.

Solar power ‘plants’ are increasing in popularity across the world, and China is now investing in floating plants over bodies of water to provide more environmentally sound ways of generating power.

Photo | supplied