Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power
Solar PV uses panels to convert radiation from the sun into electricity.
How much Solar PV should I install?
The amount of PV that suits depends on the individual farms energy consumption patterns and the price paid for electricity. Systems should be designed for maximum utilisation – that is – so that farms are able to use the energy generated as much as possible:
- Systems that are too large will generate excess power that may not be able to be exported to the grid (depending on location), or export at lower feed-in-tariff rates.
- Systems will generate less power during periods of cloud cover rainfall, so grid or generator power may be required
A number of Solar PV calculators have been developed to assist farmers to select the right amount of solar Photovoltaic Power, including:
- a Solar PV assessment tool for chicken farmers prepared by the RIRDC.
CottonInfo has prepared an analysis of opportunities for grid connected solar for irrigation, including analysis of a 87MWh per year system at Gunnedah and a 595MWh per year system at Wee Waa.
See a case study video of a Narromine cotton farm with a 100kW Solar PV and diesel generator powering a 55kW submersible pump with variable speed drive. There is a pdf version of the case study available too.
A Gunnedah cotton farmer has used Solar Photovoltaic Power and variable speed drives to cut energy costs and water consumption.
Refer also to the NSW Farmers Solar Powered Pumping in Agriculture: A guide to System Selection and Design.
The Queensland Governments, MinesOnlineMaps website includes Renewable Resources maps which show the average solar insolation throughout Queensland along with suitable infrastructure.