A ground breaking solar and grid connected pumping project in Central Queensland will shortly be opening its doors to showcase some of the exciting benefits renewable energy can create for irrigation farmers.
ReAqua are proud to have played a role in this project, funded by the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The three-year project closes in 2020, and is presenting compelling results. ReAqua supplied the new pump for the site, with a higher efficiency motor as well as the drive and controls to run the system on solar.
The Bundaberg sugarcane farm the project is based on, owned by the Killer family, has seen a reduction of 73% in pumping costs – from $116 per megalitre to $23.14 per megalitre. Josh Killer said that the project had already delivered enormous benefits to his operations, and he would continue with it after the project finished. “Our farm management strategy is no longer constrained by energy costs, and we are much more able and willing to irrigate according to crop need rather than worrying about the enormous expense of turning on the pumps,” he said.
“Tailored technologies to reduce pumping costs for irrigating farmers are desperately needed, whether the crop be sugarcane, cotton, wheat, canola or small crops,” said Dale Holliss, Deputy Chair of the National Irrigators Council and member of the Energy Consumers Australia Board advisory committee. “Farmers have been going to the wall in recent years due to soaring electricity prices, and this project was established to identify what was possible to stop this. As it transpires, the possibilities are many.
“This hybrid technology will empower irrigating farmers to water to suit the needs of their crops, not to fit in with power tariffs,” he said. “It also has a major value add – it is putting long-awaited lifestyle choices into irrigated farming. The system can be operated remotely, via a mobile phone or other smart device. A farmer can be at home in their living room, or on holiday, and still be able to turn their pumps on and off.”
On Wednesday May 15, a special showcase of the project will be held at the trial site just outside Bundaberg, Queensland. Exhibitors will include suppliers and business enterprises providing vital components of this ground-breaking project.
Transport to and from the event is being provided by BRIG from Brothers Sports Club, Takalvan St, Bundaberg. Bookings are essential.
Mr Hollis said: “This step forward in irrigation and other bulk water usage has huge implications not just nationally, but globally. Any farming or other operation using megalitres of water on an ongoing basis – whether high pressure or trickle – could reap the benefits. The whole operation sits within a small shed, and the solar panels can be placed on a multi-purpose general shed. The project has utilised existing piping infrastructure, which means that farmers don’t have to undergo an expensive overhaul – they just add the capacity to bring the hybrid elements of solar and grid power together.”find out more about the event here
ReAqua seeks to continually innovate and optimise its solar pumping products. By doing this, it makes the business case for solar pumping stronger and much more attractive for irrigators.