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Sustainable agriculture: farmer and energy farmer
In the last ten years, one German farmer has gradually turned his farm into a powerhouse for renewable energies. SMA accompanied Johannes Schindele on his path toward carbon-neutral farming with future-proof solutions. This project is among the most successful demonstrations of how agriculture and sustainability go hand in hand.
It is early in the morning - 5:00 a.m. A normal time of day for Johannes Schindele, a farmer from the Allgäu region. Before the first rays of sunshine appear, the outdoor lighting guides him to his animals on the farm. Lights that are shining thanks to the previous day's sunshine. His livestock farm is now 80 percent self-sufficient. Ten years ago, it was different. Rising electricity prices presented Johannes Schindele with a challenge and made him see that the solution was to simply generate his own electricity.
Generating his own energy was a massive step for Johannes Schindele. The decisive factors for the farmer and the supply for his operation are primarily quality and user-friendliness, service and reliability. This is why he opted for SMA and SMA inverters. In combination with the SMA Energy app, the system allows him to optimally monitor all system and operational parts on the farm - because ultimately it is the business owner who bears the responsibility.
Deliver a carbon-neutral energy supply, maximize the economic benefits of existing energy sources and operate different renewable power generation systems in a single system.
An SMA Energy System Business in combination with a biogas heat and power plant that ensures a comprehensive supply and stores surplus power that can no longer be fed in and enables self-consumption on the farm.
Up to 80% of energy needs covered by self-generated solar power.
Thanks to intelligent energy management from SMA, the system output is controlled and maximum utilization is achieved at the same time.
Easy monitoring of all system and operational parts in combination with the SMA Energy app and Sunny Portal.
Climate-friendly agriculture: a profitable investment.
Today, the sun is supplying the Schindele family and the farm with electricity. They require approximately 140,000 kWh of energy here each year. With a 160 kWp PV system and an 800 kW biogas plant on the farm, Schindele generates electricity that is fed directly into the utility grid. Even the nearby market town profits from the sustainable farm. In Obergünzburg, major consumers such as the local fire department, schools and the football club are now benefiting from it.
For Johannes Schindele, the investment in carbon-neutral farming was one that has paid off. Or, to use his words: "The sun doesn't send an invoice."
The SMA Energy Business System provides Johannes Schindele with an all-round supply. High-quality equipment, intelligent control and outstanding service are decisive factors for the farmer. The modular design made it easy for him to get started and allows the system to be upgraded in line with his budget and requirements - anytime and with no hassle.
Johannes Schindele took his first step toward climate-friendly farming and becoming an energy farmer with the Sunny Tripower inverters. With full feed-in, the farmer achieved a feed-in effect - at the time - of around 34 cents per kWh. His investment is paying off to this day. The SMA inverters are still there on his farm after ten years and are generating electricity for him and the local utility grid.
In 2012, the farm was upgraded with an additional energy source. The heat and power plant feeds electricity into the utility grid and is also used to generate district heating that keeps municipal buildings warm. If any energy is left over after that, this residual energy is used for drying wood chips. Every kW is used.
The next year, Johannes Schindele expanded his sustainable farm. But the maximum feed-in power had already been reached. The transformer did not allow more than 800 kW, which meant that feeding even more electricity into the utility grid was not permitted. Thanks to intelligent energy management from SMA, the permitted output is not exceeded, but a maximum utilization level is reached with the new system.
The maximum permissible feed-in power had already been reached. To harness the full potential of his energy system, Johannes Schindele has been operating his biogas heat and power plant independently of the grid since 2020. To do so, he invested in a new PV system, the SMA Sunny Tripower CORE1, and also in the SMA Storage Business. The large commercial storage system helped him to adhere to the grid specifications and make the best possible use of all energy. Thanks to the SMA Data Manager M, he turned the new inverter system into a zero-export system. This means that surplus electricity is fed to the battery-storage system and can be used as required.
"Our environment is not infinite. We have to make sparing and efficient use of our resources."
Johannes Schindele,farmer and energy farmer
Plan your transition to sustainable farming. With the support of SMA.
For over 40 years, SMA has been helping customers to generate electricity from renewable energies. For this purpose, we develop systems and technologies that satisfy the individual needs of our customers worldwide. SMA offers you full service in a comprehensive package to reap the benefits of your system over its entire service life. From individual planning and proper installation through to global remote maintenance by SMA experts.