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Mareeba Pawpaw Farm - Queensland Farmers' Federation
Energy Savers
Atherton Tablelands

Mareeba Pawpaw Farm

Energy Savings
Drip, Micro irrigation
Centrifugal, Diesel pump
Solar pumping
Capital Cost


The case study provides an estimate of the costs and benefits of replacing a 36hp diesel irrigation pump two options: a mains connected 15kW pump or a 19kW pump powered by a 20kW solar array to get paybacks of 11 or 6 years respectively.  The case study also compares  irrigation opportunities for a new site, between a new 7.5kW mains connected pump and a 9.5kW pump powered by a 10kW solar array, to find a payback period of less than 1 year.  The farmer would save over $9,000 on pumping costs over 6 years by installing solar pumping to replace the current diesel pump, with energy savings of 71% and emission reductions of 86.7 t CO2-e per annum.

Additional benefits include avoid labour costs associated with diesel pump refuelling and maintenance as well as better water delivery rates given higher efficiency of electric pumps.

Farm profile

The farm, near Mareeba, grows pawpaw which is packed for the national market. Cattle are a secondary focus. Irrigation is mostly by drippers to the pawpaw trees but there are plans to move to sprinklers in the future. Irrigation continues throughout the dry season for up to 8 months per year depending on rainfall. The farm operates a single diesel pump for irrigation but future expansion is anticipated with a second pump site under development. These pump systems have been the focus of an energy efficiency audit.

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