The hot, dry summer in Queensland this year, has given cause for concern to the local rural business owners, not only because of the detriment to the sugar cane crops, but also due to the rising costs of electricity power needed to operate the water pumps for crop irrigation. In some cases the rising cost of power has doubled over the last ten years and of course is not sustainable.
Electricity costs are expected to rise even further again by 2020, when Ergon, Queensland’s regional electricity company is expected to alter the way it currently bills it’s small business customers for their consumption.
There are of course other options for energy production in these rural areas, with many farmers needing to stop using these water pumps, purely in a drive to cut down costs. This of course impacts, not only on crop production, but also on local employment figures. A large number of businesses are resorting back to diesel power, just like many previous generations used in the farming community.
Of course the majority of diesel pumps aren’t aesthetically appealing to look at, and they’re also quite noisy when running, creating exhaust gases that are emitted into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the quality of air in these rural areas. However, when you consider that the farmers are saving around 30 % on their electricity costs to pump their water supplies to the fields, and they also receive a Government subsidy for using diesel fuel, it’s got to be a cost effective option.
One of the most green and environmentally friendly options is to go off grid, and install solar power. Many rural farmers are installing panels that generate sufficient solar power to operate the water pumps, eliminating the need to buy costly generators and diesel. Solar power removes the uncertainty away from your annual energy costs, as each Kw of power you yield from solar panels, is one less you are paying the utility company for, which in the long run, has to be advantageous for any rural business.