Energy Savers

Central Queensland Irrigators

Energy Savings
Beef and Cattle
Beef cattle and Grains
Solar pumping, Energy storage
Capital Cost

Farm Profile

A 3,600Ha central Queensland beef cattle farm producing 600 head of cattle, 250t wheat, 100t mung beans, 50t chickpeas and 80t of sorghum has the potential to cover the annual energy consumed from pumping with the implementation of solar PV.

The auditor compared two options for powering a stock watering pump. The pump provides water from a dam to a system of 5 holding tanks which then gravity feed to a network of watering troughs. Stock water is pumped to a header tank by a 1kW single-phase grid connected pump running up to 24 hours per day. It pumps approximately 3m3/hr with an estimated total system head of 42 metres.

The Audit has made a comparison of the costs and savings of solar pumping which include the following two options 

  • 2kW Solar System too offset grid power consumption during the day 
    • Installed with battery-ready inverter 
  • 6kW Solar System with 20kWh battery storage and disconnect the system from the network 
    • Producing 10,913 kWh per year  
    • Loss of load probability of 2% per year.  
Solution  2kW Solar System  6kW Solar system with 20kWh battery  
Annual Energy Saving  (kWh) 871  1,306 
Estimated Cost to Implement ($) 3,500  15,000
Annual Cost Savings ($) 430  1,253 
Payback (years)  8.1  19 
Annual Emission Reductions (t CO2-e)  0.8  1.21 


The audit shows that the retrofit options have a long payback period, but when replacing a worn or damaged system, or building a new system, grid-connected solar systems may be financially viable.  Off-grid battery-supported systems may prove viable as batteries reduce in costs, or where there are other matters that add value to the system, such as systems with unstable grid connections. This solution can save up to 12% of the site total electricity use, covering all the energy consumed from pumping. 

This case study concentrates on the one irrigation system although the energy audit showed additional savings that could be made onsite including. 

  • LED Lighting Upgrade  
  • Installing a 6kW Solar System at the farmhouse with a payback period of 4.9 years. 

An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great way for a business to cut costs and boost productivity. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit 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 in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.