Monday, July 18, 2016

Solar Pumping for Farm Irrigation

Solar pumping: the economic & enviro rewards

Energy is one of the fastest growing on-farm costs. The CRDC-funded Improving energy efficiency on irrigated cotton farms project found in 2015 that the average direct energy cost was $298 per hectare, with diesel counting for at least 85 percent.

But not for cotton grower Andrew Gill of Narromine.

The installation of a solar diesel hybrid irrigation bore pump on his Central West NSW farm has led to big cuts in fuel costs, greater irrigation efficiencies and a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Attracted by the drop in the price of solar panels in recent years and the prospect of the system paying for itself in less than four years, Andrew decided to install a solar diesel hybrid system at one of the pump sites on their Narromine farm at the end of last year.
The move has led to a cut in pumping costs from $76/megalitre to $41/ML and slashed diesel use by between 45,000 and 55,000 litres a year. Over 25 years, that equates to a saving of more than 1 million litres of fuel and a reduction of over 3000 tonnes in carbon emissions.

Learn more about Andrew's system in this CottonInfo case study and in this video. And find out more about how you can improve your on-farm energy efficiency here.

While using solar energy for farm water pumping is not new, nor is this the first ever story on the subject it does highlight that this approach is now effectively MAINSTREAM.

And it can work in many many locations around Australia and the world.

Sure capital cost is an issue so a planned approach to financing is important........but it has a big payoff in cost savings and a feel good outcome too.  And it works........that has to be a critical issue as well in the present time of 2016!

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