Energy Savers
South East

Kalbar Horticulture Farm

Energy Savings
Vegetables, Lucerne, Barley
Micro irrigation, Travelling Gun
Bore, Centrifugal
Pump upgrade, Variable Speed Control
Capital Cost


A horticulture farm located near Kalbar could benefit by saving energy and money from recommendations in a recent energy savers audit. The audit recommended replacing the existing 37kW dam pump with a new pump of the same size including Variable Speed Drive (VSD), as well as install two solar systems, 12kW for the shed roof and a 10kW ground-mounted system for the main irrigation pump.

The grower has replaced the dam pump and will consider installing the solar solutions in the future. The implemented solution has estimated energy savings of 11% and emission reductions of 15.4 t CO2-e per year. The measurement and verification process is expected to be completed on the new pump in the coming months.

The farm, near Kalbar, produces a variety of vegetables on 75ha and is irrigated year-round depending on rainfall. Water is supplied from onsite irrigation dams which are replenished from the local irrigation scheme and bores. 

It is a medium-sized site consuming 180,000 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $50,000. The farm grows 4 types of vegetables, lucerne, and barley. 

The infrastructure contributing to the energy consumption onsite consists of:

  • An old 37kW pump that pumps from the dam 
  • A new irrigation pump with Variable Speed Drive on a neighbouring property  
  • 1 pump from the river that is supplied by the irrigation scheme 
  • 3 bore pumps 
  • A shed with no cold room facilities 

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:

  • Replace the 37 kW dam pump with a new pump of the same size but including Variable Speed Drive (VSD), due to the different pressure requirements of the irrigation systems.
  • Installation of a 12W solar system for the shed roof. 
  • Installation of a 10kW ground-mounted solar system for the river pump.

Table 1. Energy and cost savings from audit recommendations

Recommendations Annual Energy Savings (kWh) Annual Cost Savings ($) Emission Savings (tCO2-e)  Capital Cost ($) Payback Period (years)
Pump replacement 19,000 5,000 15.4 16,000 3.2
10kW solar system 18,700 5,000 15.1 22,800 3.5
12kW solar system  15,500 4,000 12.6 16,000 3.8
Total 53,200 14,000 43.1 54,800 3.5


The grower proceeded with replacing the dam pump and will consider installing the solar in the future. 

By installing the recommendation in the audit, the business is expected to reduce energy consumption by 11% and costs by 10%, with carbon emission savings of 15.4 tCO2-e per year. Actual savings will be updated once the measurement and verification process is complete.

Table 2. Pre and post implementation energy and cost savings

Metric  Pre- implementation  Post-  implementation  Reduction (%) 
Energy Consumption (kWh)  180,000 161,000 11
Cost ($)  50,000 45,000 10

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 on site.  

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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