Integrating alternative energy solutions

A 6400-acre cotton farm in the Fitzroy Valley, Queensland, was selected as a case study site to consider the economic and environmental impact of installing solar photovoltaic microgrids to offset energy use.

Energy is one of the fastest growing costs for cotton growers, with electricity and diesel accounting for a significant proportion of total farm input costs.

On the case study site, one solution trialled was a 225kW PV (photovoltaic) used on a centre-pivot system supplying year-round irrigation water. The study found the PV system had a six-year payback period and would save the farmer AUD$860,000 over 25 years. In addition, around 2700 tonnes of CO2 would be abated over the life of the project.

CottonInfo Energy Technical Lead Jon Welsh said that while previously, on-site cogeneration for irrigators hadn’t been feasible, advances in technology in renewable energy and – in the near future – battery storage, will offer cost savings for irrigators while reducing their environmental impacts.

You can see more details about the project at

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