Bundaberg project to power irrigation pumps with solar

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A new demonstration project to power irrigation pumping systems with solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is set to kick off in Bundaberg.

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the project aims to reduce irrigators’ dependence on grid-supplied electricity, which powers the majority of irrigation systems in Bundaberg.

“In an effort to combat rising electricity prices, the project aims show the cost efficiencies that can be achieved by using solar PV to power high pressure irrigation systems,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group (BRIG) will deliver the $890,000 project, which is supported by a $447,000 investment from the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“The investment aligns with the Coalition Government’s technology neutral, non-ideological approach to provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emission future.”

Launching the demonstration project today, Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said many canegrowers were looking at alternative options with electricity costs continuing to rise.

“Electricity is a major, unavoidable cost, which does impact farm productivity and economic viability for canegrowers, so it’s hardly surprising they are looking at other options when it comes to energy supply.”

Local canegrowers can lodge an expression of interest with BRIG to be involved with the three-year trial and a local committee will select a suitable applicant.

The primary outcome of the project is to demonstrate the costs savings associated with the use of solar power with the conventional “big gun” irrigation over a period of three growing seasons.

The demonstration project is expected to be completed in 2020.

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