|How farmers save money through solar energy
The sheer power and potential of solar energy is absolutely breathtaking. It is said that all the energy stored in the world’s reserves of coal, oil and natural gases is matched to the energy of just 20 days of sunshine. The farming sector has seen a boom on solar energy savings, making it easy to understand why solar farms are becoming more and more popular around the country.
With recent solar technology advances and installation price drops, solar power use has continued to grow significantly. South Africa’s solar potential is extremely promising, receiving more than double the solar radiation output of Europe. With more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged each year, solar power can save farmers money through a number of different ways.
The main advantage of solar power for farming is that it allows farmers to save on their constantly rising energy costs of running a successful farm. Solar also allows farmers to stop relying so heavily on depleting resources like fossil fuels, which are not only costly, but also harmful to the environment.
Commercial greenhouses often rely on gas or oil heaters in order to maintain a constant temperature, making it a rather costly process. A solar greenhouse applies the same principles as a regular one, except that the greenhouse is specially aligned towards the sun.
Large transparent widows, referred to as glazing, are placed on the sides where the most light comes in, while the other sides are well insulated, with few or no windows to help absorb and retain the heat.
Remote Electricity Supply
Farms are usually situated in remote locations where electrical power lines often do not reach. In situations like this, generators are frequently used to generate electricity, typically coming with a large price tag attached.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels can be used as a cheaper option for generating electricity. Most PV systems are relatively low-maintenance and highly reliable. There are many practical applications of solar power as a source of electricity. They can be used to generate heat, pump water and power lights and electric fences, to name a few.
Solar Crop Drying
Solar drying equipment can be used to dry crops much faster and more evenly than simply leaving them in the field after harvest. An added bonus of solar crop drying is that harvest damage by birds, pests or the weather is avoided.
A solar dryer typically consists of an enclosure or shed, a solar collector and screened drying trays or racks. Heat is collected by the solar collector and pushed into the enclosure. Natural convection or a fan moves hot air through the crops to dry them.
The cost of solar collectors can be quite high, so simple solar crop dryer designs with sun-facing windows and dark-coloured drying trays with a glass cover can be used to capture the heat.
In an attempt to make solar collectors more cost-effective, they can also be used to heat other buildings around the farm while they are not needed for crop drying.
Solar Power Inquiries
If you still have any further questions about solar panels for your home, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.