Solar, a wise moo-ve for this dairy farmer

Jon McAllister and his wife Kate run a dry land dairy farm in the hills of northeast Victoria. Every day they milk around 200 predominantly jersey cows, supplying milk to the nearby Mountain Milk co-op.

“I love farming, I’m home all the time and I’m pretty lucky I get to spend a lot of time with my two young boys and work with my wife. It's a good life”, says Jon.

Milking 200 cows a day is energy intensive and as Jon describes it, their power bills have been “creeping up over the last couple of years and we got to the point where we were paying about $1,900 a month which is getting up to around $16,000 a year”.

Keen to lower these costs, Jon and Kate decided to install solar, installing a 7.56kw Solar PV system in February 2020 and an industrial solar hot water system at around the same time.

“They’ve reduced our power bill by just under half. It's pretty nice to get a power bill half the size it was previously. That adds up pretty quick”, says Jon.

Jon estimates with these savings they will pay off the solar PV and solar hot water systems within two years.

When asked what they will spend the saved money on, Jon laughs, “we’ll probably buy another tractor. You better edit that bit, my wife will see that and….I mean there's always plenty of money to be spent on the farm, there's always something to do but yeah, we’ll probably buy another tractor‘.

Happy with the savings and performance of their solar systems, Jon and Kate are planning to install a battery when finances allow.

"We are very keen to put in a battery and add enough solar to cover our whole power needs. We'd love to do that”, he says.

The Solar for Business program ended on 30 June. Rebates and interest-free loans are no longer available under this program.


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