Renewable energy investment support, education and tours on farm scale – the Finnish E-farm® concept

luke-14-09-2016

The Finnish GREBE project partners Luke and Karelia UAS visited two E-farm® destinations provided by the Finnish E-farm® service using renewable energy solutions for energy production on a farm scale.

A perfect example for an E-farm® destination is the Itikan tila farm in the region of Northern Savo in Finland. The farm produces agricultural products, provides cultural and tourist services and has an own energy production on the farm including an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The E-farm® service includes site visits to so-called “E-farm® destinations”, support services in form of calculations, education and training.  E-farm® offers for instance dedicated courses on biogas and wind energy. Also, E-farm® provides detailed investment calculations and support for farmers planning to invest in renewable energy solutions on their farm. By contacting the coordinator of E-farm®, customers can order visits or tours to any of the destinations in Finland, ask for support or other offered services at one contact point. Also tours to Central Europe can be organized. Companies behind the trademark are Envitecpolis Oy and Savon Siemen Oy.

The concept of combining conventional (farm) business with energy production and tourism has been presented in the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) area before, the NPP project REMOTE worked with this idea for example. Besides of the availability of sustainable resources, the Northern Periphery area is unique in regards to the high number of remote dwellings in rural areas, the availability of unique cultural experiences and events for tourists. A large share of buildings has either no access to electricity or is dependent on producing energy from fossil fuels. A focus was to provide feasible solutions for renewable energies in remote areas adapted to the scale of sparsely populated areas and communities by providing information, products and services similar to the E-farm® concept especially dedicated for farms and their customers.

E-farm® has a network of farms across Finland coving a wide range of renewable energy solutions including for example wind mills, small scale CHP units from forest chips, biogas, biodiesel, solar panels, hydro power and ground source heat pump.

In addition to energy sales of renewable energy to the market, visits to the farms provide new business opportunities such as additional income to both the farm and the service and increase the awareness and experiences of energy production investments at farms.

More information on the E-farm® destinations and services offered can be found from the webpage (in Finnish): www.efarm.fi

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PV considered feasible at farm-scale in Finland

 

Karelia UAS 07-07-2016

A dairy farm located in Kitee, North Karelia, invested in 22+11 kWp photovoltaic system in June 2014. The system has been now operating two years and the experience has been positive. The annual production of 30 000 kWh is about 25% of the overall electricity consumption.

The PV investments have gained considerable interest among local farmers who often have the annual electricity consumption between 50 000 to 150 000 kWh, some even 350 000 kWh. Electricity consumption of cooling the milk down to 4 °C, as well as effective air-conditioning, require significant amount of electricity. On the other hand, farms usually have suitable sunny fields and roof surface areas for PV plants.

The local company, Mirotex ltd. has established system in Kitee together with technology supplier Green Energy Finland – the estimated payback times is below 8-9 years with 30% investment support. The PV plant was provided as a turnkey solution.

The farmer owning the system is very happy for his decision and emphasizes the benefits of having a local supplier and thus the service and maintenance easily available.

The established farm-scale plants have received considerable attention – new investments are planned and decided in other farms, housing associations and in industry/commerce. The Finnish GREBE partner, Karelia UAS, invests in demonstration PV plant.The investment is part of the Sirkkala Energy Park and will provide open-access information for all interested stakeholders.

More information available at: Green Energy Finland, Mirotex Oy.