Photovoltaic systems on dairy farms: Financial and renewable multi-objective optimization (FARMOO) analysis
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CitationM. Breen, J. Upton, M.D. Murphy, Photovoltaic systems on dairy farms: Financial and renewable multi-objective optimization (FARMOO) analysis, Applied Energy, Volume 278, 2020, 115534, ISSN 0306-2619, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115534.
AbstractThe aim of this study was to develop a financial and renewable multi-objective optimization (FARMOO) method for dairy farms. Due to increased global milk production and European Union policies concerning renewable energy contributions, the optimization of dairy farms from financial and renewable standpoints is crucial. The FARMOO method found the optimal combination of dairy farm equipment and management practices, based on a trade-off parameter which quantified the relative importance of maximizing farm net profit and maximizing farm renewable contribution. A PV system model was developed and validated to assess the financial performance and renewable contribution of this technology in a dairy farming context. Seven PV system sizes were investigated, ranging from 2 kWp to 11 kWp. Multi-objective optimization using a Genetic Algorithm was implemented to find the optimal combination of equipment and management practices based on the aforementioned trade-off parameter. For a test case of a 195 cow spring calving dairy farm in Ireland, it was found that when the relative importance of farm net profit was high, a PV system was not included in the optimal farm configuration. When net profit and renewable contribution were of equal importance, the optimal farm configuration included an 11 kWp PV system with a scheduled water heating load at 10:00. Multi-objective optimization was carried out for the same test case with the goals of maximizing farm net profit and minimizing farm CO2 emissions. Under this scenario, the optimal farm configuration included an 11 kWp PV system when the relative importance of farm net profit was low. This study included a sensitivity analysis which investigated the use of a 40% grant aid on PV system capital costs. This sensitivity analysis did not significantly improve the financial feasibility of PV systems on dairy farms. Moreover, it was found that load shifting of a farm’s water heating enabled the majority of the PV system’s electricity output to be consumed. Hence the use of batteries with small PV systems on dairy farms may not be necessary. The method described in this study will be used to inform policy and provide decision support relating to PV systems on dairy farms.
FunderTeagasc Walsh Fellowship programme; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Research Development and Demonstration fund
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