Farm owners and lobby groups across Australia are turning to renewable energy sources, specifically solar power, to reduce costs and dependence on traditional electricity providers.
Steve Whan, chief executive of the National Irrigators Council, stated that high prices have been putting particular pressure on farmers and irrigators in the country. Now, these individuals are taking matters into their own hands by installing solar panels on their lands.
One of these people is John Russo, an irrigator from Queensland who has collaborated with an electrician to develop a reliable solar powered pump that will help reduce his energy bills. According to Russo, this new equipment has allowed him to triple the size of his yields, while looking forward to seeing his bills reduced in half. He said:
“I think the net back to me is something like $20,000 per annum so on investment it’s about 13.5 per cent on investment return [for] maybe six or seven years.
“Beyond that my energy is very cost efficient.”
Another farmer from Victoria, Alan Westbury, said he was pleased from harnessing solar power to satisfy the energy needs of his property. He said that the decision will save him more cash and make him independent from power companies. Comparing his current expenses to the previous years, he stated:
“I spend $130,000 – $140,000 every year on power. At this stage [with solar] the power bill is about $3,500 a month, where it used to be $7,000 or $8,000 so it’s got to be making a difference.”
Westbury added that he will definitely know how efficient his new solar panels had reduced his farm’s operations costs in the middle of this year.