Updated December 08, 2015 19:34:53

Narromine farmer Andrew Gill has installed 400 solar panels, replacing his diesel engine, to run his irrigation bore.

It is a movement that has the backing of traditionally conservative farming organisations.

In the middle of a dusty paddock, surrounded by dirt and scrub, Mr Gill looks down a hole.

“That’s 102 metres deep, which is exactly where we draw our water from,” he mentioned.

He is referring to a bore — 1 of the sources of water on his household farm, south of Narromine in the central west of New South Wales.

With his brothers and parents he runs livestock, winter crops and in the summer time, cotton.

It is an high-priced business.

Cotton needs a enormous amount of water and at the moment, Mr Gill draws it up using a large diesel engine that when came from a truck.

“We’ve got a quite huge diesel bill. Based on the seasons, we purchase into the hundreds of thousands of litres a year,” he stated.

Diesel pump used by NSW farm Photo: Andrew Gill utilizes a diesel pump to draw up bore water for his farm. (ABC News: David Mark)

That means hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So after years of intensive research, he has decided to attempt one thing new: A 400-panel, 100-kilowatt solar plant to run the pump.

“I don’t consider there’s any threat in it, if we can lower the cost of one particular of our greatest inputs, it is going to be a win-win,” he stated.

From a expense point of view, it is absolutely the future, oil is not going to get any less expensive as supplies dwindle.

Andrew Gill, Narromine farmer.

Mr Gill stated his mini solar farm would expense far more than $ 200,000, but he was confident he would make the funds back.

“The primary cause we’re seeking for an alternative is the price,” he mentioned.

“There are other rewards, certainly there is a massive a single with carbon, you know we won’t have as significantly pollution.

“There are a lot of other people hunting to do issues in agriculture and in the cotton market specifically to attempt and reduce the amount of pollution and carbon.

“And if this is a tiny way of undertaking that on our farm, it’s definitely a win.”

Andrew Gill and Steve Harding Photo: Solar installer Steve Harding and Andrew Gill stand in front of diesel pump. (ABC News: David Mark)

Mr Gill is one particular of the farmers who has been advised by Gerry Flores, the Energy Innovation manager, with the rural lobby group, New South Wales Farmers.

Mr Flores said it makes sense that farmers had been breaking the stereotype of folks who embrace solar and other renewable power sources.

“Renewable energy and the conservative mindset of being more independent as effectively, I think that matches,” Mr Flores stated.

“What is been a bit of an situation is that a lot of the development in this, it is been attached to a political agenda.

“So some men and women might look at renewable power and identify at it as a green policy, or identify it as a political statement.

“But we’re not about that, we want to look at the economic case of an energy program that is going into the house and present to the farmers that way and just appear at it from the basis of financials.”

Renewable technology ‘no longer a niche market’

Mr Flores mentioned renewables had been no longer a niche and referred to the 4.five gigawatts of solar panels which are installed on the rooftops of Australian residences.

“Individuals are aware that this can save them cash,” he mentioned.

“But it really is also, I feel, a mentality for farmers, they want to be independent, they want to be able to say ‘well this is the energy that I produce’.

“So there’s that mentality and the capacity to do that in farms that is not obtainable in a lot of metropolitan areas.”

Mr Gill sees renewable electrical energy as a basic part in the future of Australian farming.

“From a price point of view, it really is definitely the future, oil is not going to get any more affordable as supplies dwindle,” he said.

“If we want to continue undertaking what we’re undertaking, we have to become much more environmentally aware and something that we can do to improve that bottom line is a win.”

Subjects: environmentally-sustainable-enterprise, environmental-technologies, sustainable-and-alternative-farming, narromine-2821

Very first posted December 08, 2015 19:33:33

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