Energy Savers
Southern Downs

Stanthorpe Horticulture Farm

Energy Savings
Refrigeration, Lighting, Tariffs
Capital Cost

Farm Profile

The farm, near Stanthorpe, produces a large variety of horticultural products on an area of approximately 30 ha. The farm is irrigated year-round depending on rainfall. Water is supplied from on-site irrigation dams and they are replenished from rainfall. 

The site consumes approximately 49,000 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $13,300 and already has 30kW and 25kW solar systems on separate connection points 

The site energy consumption consists of: 

  • Two irrigation pumps, 22kW and 18.5kW 
  • A packing shed with a quick cool cold room and a storage cold room, packing equipment and hot water units 

An audit of site energy consumption evaluated: 

  • Tariff Analysis
  • Replacing cold room condensing unit
  • Lighting upgrade
  • Pumping systems

Of the energy saving opportunities evaluated, three initiatives were identified with potential energy savings of 17 per cent of the site total and an average payback period of approximately 8.5 years and with carbon reductions of 6.6 t CO2-e per annum. 

A tariff analysis found that there were savings of approximately $1,500 per year by changing the tariff on the pump from Tariff 62, a time of use tariff for users who run equipment overnight that is being phased out in July 2021. It was recommended to change to Tariff 20 which is a small business flat-rate tariff. 

The audit recommended replacing the cold rooms condensing units. The units were approximately 30 years old and in poor condition. A new single condensing unit with VSDs to control the compressor speed and the condenser fan was recommended which would be 40 per cent more efficient than the existing units. Modern condensing units also can recover heat, which can be useful for farms that need hot water and the new units use R410a refrigerant, replacing R22 units.

Other recommendations included upgrading the packing shed lighting from 36W T8 fluorescents to 18W LED tubes. The tubes can be used in the existing fittings. The LED tubes use 40 per cent less electricity than the fluorescents.

The energy audit recommendations are summarised below: 

Recommendation Tariff Change  Condensing Unit  Lighting Upgrade 
Capital Cost ($)    25,000  600 
Annual Energy Savings (kWh)   7,397 778
Annual Operating cost savings ($)  1,500  1,800  190
Payback Period (years)   13.8 3.2


After receiving the audit report recommendations, the grower advised that they were unable to proceed with the projects due to the ongoing drought.   

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.


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