VIDEO: Progressive dairy farm in Kilkenny


John Downey bred pedigree Limousin cattle for up to four-decades before converting to dairying in 2017.

The progressive, Kilkenny-based farmer opted for a zero-grazing system due to the fragmented nature of his enterprise.

With a belief that a zero-grazing system can complement robotic milking, John purchased two Lely Astronauts.

Solar panels

He also researched the possibility of installing Solar PV systems. “We decided to look at solar panels because when we had developed the dairy, the building was new.”

“We installed LED lights and had a broker covering electricity, so the price was managed.”

“This was the obvious next step to take – that is why we decided to go the solar panel route,” John added.

AEI provided John with advice in relation to the various grants that he could avail of. “They all depended on the system that we were putting in.”

After a consultation with technicians, the Downeys selected a 30kW solar system, with no batteries.

How does it work?

Daylight strikes the solar panels and these panels generate an electrical current. This electricity passes down into a box called an inverter and from there, it goes to your fuse board and to every appliance in the building.

If there is excess electricity, it goes to a battery or back to the grid. If there is a shortfall in electricity, the balance is taken from the grid. No maintenance is required, according to the company, as its system has no moving parts.

“On the basis of that, the savings we are making and our payback of five-to-five-and-a-half-years, I would happily recommend the solar panel system and AEI.” the dairy farmer concluded.

Open day:

AEI will host an open day on John’s farm on Thursday (November 7th) from 12-3pm – see more information here.

Video produced and edited by TF Media

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