Energy Savers
Wide Bay Burnett

Bundaberg Horticulture Farm

Energy Savings
Avocados and Macadamias
Drip, Micro irrigation
Solar Photovoltaic, Tariffs
Capital Cost


A recent energy audit in an avocado farm showed how installing a solar system can lead to 17% energy and cost savings with emission reductions of 13.6 tCO2-e per year by investing $35,000.

The farm, near Bundaberg, produces avocados and is irrigated year-round depending on rainfall. Water is supplied from underground aquifers. 

It is a large farm consuming just over 100,000kWh per year at a cost of $30,000 at the three meters assessed. They harvest about 800 tonnes per year from 60ha. The farm is starting to replace older avocado orchards with macadamias which changes the power and water consumption.

The infrastructure contributing to the energy consumption onsite consists of:

  • A main 37kW turbine irrigation pump with VSD which irrigates most of the farm.
  • Several small fertigation pumps, on the same NMI as the main pump. 
  • A smaller irrigation turbine pump used to irrigate a smaller section of the farm.
  • A 40hp turbine pump used to irrigate a smaller section of the farm.

A recent energy audit showed how improving the current systems can lead to energy and cost savings. The energy audit recommended the following changes to improve efficiency and reduce costs:

  • Tariff analysis, which found savings of $400 by changing the irrigation Time of Use tariff 66 on the largest pump by the small business flat-rate tariff 20.
  • Review of existing pumps and efficiencies, which were found operating at an efficient point.
  • Installation of a 20kW ground-mounted solar system at the site of the large pump.

Table 1. Energy and cost savings from audit recommendations

Recommendation Annual Energy Savings (kWh) Annual Cost Savings ($) Emission Savings (tCO2-e)  Capital Cost ($) Payback Period (years)
20kW solar system 17,000 5,000 13.6 35,000 7.2


Following the audit report recommendations, the grower did not proceed with the recommendation due to other business pressures.

By installing the recommendations in the audit, the business could reduce energy consumption and costs by 17%, with carbon emission savings of 13.6 tCO2-e per year.

Table 2. Pre and post audit energy, costs and energy productivity savings

Metric Pre-Audit Post-Audit Reduction (%)
Energy Consumption (kWh) 100,000 83,000 17
Cost ($) 30,000 25,000 17
Energy Productivity (kWh/tonne) 125 104 17


An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great first step in moving a business towards a more efficient future by reducing energy use, costs and carbon emissions onsite.  

An energy auditor will review your past energy bills, your equipment and the way your business operates. They’ll show you where you’re using excess energy and explain what you can do about it. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE. 

See our range of agricultural energy efficiency case studies HERE and Subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE  

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at energysavers@qff.org.au.  

The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works. 


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