Agriculture and solar working together to open new business opportunities in Melbourne, AustraliaDecember 7, 2015 |
It seems that farmers in Australia are currently the main focus of the energy sector. There has been a lot of controversy recently over coal seam gas mining – or fracking as it’s better known – on agricultural land. Many landowners in rural Australia are up in arms over the practice, especially the often unsolicited invasions onto their farmland. So it’s good news that one energy sector – solar – is providing farm owners with something positive to hang their hat on.
Solar power and farming
Solar and farms have shared a common, recent history together. A drive through the countryside of any state will often provide visuals of farms with their own, medium-sized scale solar panels. PV panels are of particular benefit to agricultural businesses. The large majority of farms in Australia lie within the solar zones 1, 2, and 3, which offer the most renewable energy certificates.
Even right now, there are some really far out there solar innovations. Perhaps the most mind boggling is the aptly titled ”Farm-in-a-box”, utilising discarded shipping containers to create a solar and micro farming dream. Powered exclusively by a 3kW PV solar panel system, the “box” allows for irrigation, water purification, data management and even maintains the temperature at an optimum level for growing produce.
There is, however, an even greater innovation, and one that seeks to solve a huge agricultural problem in Australia – land. A small farm has been set up 15 km south of Port Augusta in South Australia. The farm is situated right in the middle of the arid lands, where temperatures frequently exceed 40° – not exactly ideal for produce.
Solely utilising filtered sea water for irrigation, and a PV panel system to power all of the essentials, however, they are set to become the largest producer of tomatoes in Australia. Coles has recently signed a ten year contract with the company – the first and largest of its kind for an Australian business. Sundrop already has plans to extend this technology to the Middle East, where suitable farming land is at a premium.
This shows what solar energy can do to transform industries, and is a testament to the potential and flexibility of the industry. Looking to power your agricultural business with solar power? At Think Solar, we’ll be able to help. We’ll get to understand exactly what you’re looking to get out of your PV solar system, and provide you with panels that will allow you to achieve this with ease.