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Dairy Farm, Poowong North, Gippsland

Dairy farm solar systems are notoriously tricky to make worthwhile as the farm power usage falls outside the solar peak hours. With a working herd of 630 cows, this Gippsland dairy farm was selected to be a pilot project in 2017.

Early mornings and late afternoons mean dairy farms miss out on the main period of direct solar power generation benefits, however with regular power outages and new network power demand charges being introduced, the designers were able to create a very practical solution. By installing 150kWh Hitachi Nano Carbon batteries along with a 65kW solar PV system it was possible to reduce the daily grid demand by up to 50%. This saved the farm from the punitive network ‘demand charges’, grid kWh supply charges as well as providing power security. Being fully automated the system adds a useful and reliable technology to the dairy that will provide years of robust service. The Hitachi battery system is estimated to last 17 years with the solar array more likely 25 years or more. Hitachi batteries are a tried and tested solution with a zero cell failure rate even in heavy duty usage.

Project Designed and Installed by

HID-Australia and Renewable Energy Alliance

This is an ongoing project where software and other forms of smart control are currently being piloted to maximize the outcome for the dairy farmer. The project was commenced in late 2017 with the intention to provide other dairy farmers with a working demonstration of how solar and industrial batteries could make a real-world difference to power security, network charges and also stack up economically. With a low feed-in tariff the objective was to harvest and use as much of the solar power onsite as possible.


65kWp of solar PV and 150kWh nominal capacity Hitachi Battery bank

  • Demand charges removed from network supply
  • Power security to beat the once a month power outages
  • Load shifting program introduced and developed
  • Investment payback approx. 5.9 years, then approx. 50%+ of total farm energy requirement is free for remaining system life
  • System expected life – 17 years with Hitachi AVRLA battery [with Nano carbon] / 25 years Solar

Farmers to flock to solar and battery storage, as power costs bite

By Sophie Vorrath on September 5, 2018

Like households and small businesses, Australian farmers are increasingly turning to renewable energy technologies to cut their power costs and shore up their bottom lines. But a new report from Commonwealth Bank of Australia suggests the shift to solar and battery storage in the nation’s expansive agribusiness sector has only just begun.