Land of milk and honey goes solar

Belinda and Robert Morrison with their new Tesla battery at their Yandoit Dairy that has switched to solar and has been able to feed power back into the grid. Photo: Eve Lamb

Two months after installing a solar operating system for their commercial dairy farm, Yandoit’s Robert and Belinda Morrison are giving their new 18.5 kilowatt system a big thumbs up.
The Morrison’s system features a Tesla power storage battery and two inverters and has already enabled their local dairy operation to go almost entirely off grid.
“We installed the 59 solar panels in mid-December and in mid-January we got the OK to get paid for the power we’re exporting into the grid so we’re really looking forward to seeing what our February bill will be,” Robert says.
“So far with the sunny weather we’re getting really good generation out of the system – as high as 95 per cent”.
At times power generated by the solar panels directly powers the dairy plant, while surplus power generated may be stored in the Tesla battery for use when needed, or fed back into the grid.
“So nothing is going to waste,” says Robert, noting that they’re able to draw base load power from the grid should the need ever arise.
The Morrisons run a 110-head Friesian dairy herd on the 300 acre property that the family has farmed for generations. It’s recognised as the last remaining commercial dairy herd in Yandoit. 
Besides operating the 12-aside herringbone milking plant twice daily, their newly installed Cola Solar system from Bendigo heats the two large hot water services that are key aspects of the dairy’s operation.
“The whole plant will run on solar,” Robert says.
But there’s another reason this local farmer calls their Yandoit farm “the land of milk and honey”.
There’s also bees – 40 hives full of them to be precise.
And responding to popular local demand, the Morrisons have just bought a brand new commercial stainless steel honey extractor that will also be powered by their dairy rooftop solar system. Read more in today’s Castlemaine Mail Friday, February 14, 2020.

Eve Lamb
Journalist and photographer Eve Lamb has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Deakin University and a Master of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University. She has worked for many regional newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and the Warrnambool Standard, and has also worked for metro daily, The Hobart Mercury, and The Sunday Tasmanian. Eve has also contributed to various magazines including Australian Cyclist.