The NSW DPI Energy Efficiency Solutions project has implemented pilot projects on a range of farms around NSW during 2021 to address the cost, reliability and the sustainability of energy use on farms. One of these pilots was implemented at Pecora Dairy, a sheep dairy and boutique cheese producer in Robertson, NSW, owned by Michael and Cressida Cains. The business is committed to producing environmentally friendly and unique food products and in April 2019 Pecora Dairy was awarded the first raw cheese processor license from NSW Food Authority.
The pilot at Pecora Dairy entailed the installation of 28 kW of solar photovoltaics, a 40-kWh flow battery system and a new heat pump to replace the site’s LPG boiler. This solution has overcome the energy supply issues, power outages and an insecure supply of LPG that plagued the dairy and threatened processing operations.
Pecora Dairy’s solar and battery storage system will be combined with a peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading platform to sell and purchase excess solar electricity with other P2P users on the platform. This system supports the grid in powering the farm’s operation and has remote monitoring so you can see where the power is coming from and moving to. The screen shot below shows solar providing all the dairy’s power, recharging the battery and exporting 515 Watts of electricity into the grid. This changes constantly depending on the level of solar generation, with the battery charging or discharging to help balance the load.
Michael and Cressida are very enthusiastic about renewables and long-term sustainability. The project means they are now unaffected by blackouts which previously caused loss of valuable cheese stock and productivity. It also has reduced their reliance on fossil fuels, reduced costs and added to the business’s branding appeal. Michael notes, “We are Australia’s first registered uncooked, raw cheese producer, so product quality and safety are vital. The updated power system safeguards our production and lets us sleep well on stormy nights!”.
For more information about renewable energy options in dairy systems, see: