Fourth generation farmer and cotton grower, Andrew Gill’s presentation on solar powered pumping and energy storage, opened up a floodway of enquiry at the REAQUA booth during last week’s Australian Cotton Conference.
After installing a 400 panel, 100Kw system on his property in late 2015, Andrew’s thorough research into solar powered pumping has made him one of the industry’s biggest success stories, and a great test case for solar energy storage.
Speaking on the last day of the annual conference, which was held on the Gold Coast from the 2-4 August 2016, Andrew’s presentation made what is usually the slowest day of the conference one of the busiest for REAQUA.
Steve Harding from Solar Pumping Solutions (SPS) said the three-day event was a great success in terms of enquiry, with many farmers concerned about the high cost of running their pumps.
“While the conversion rate from enquiry to supply is an unknown, the price of electricity isn’t going down and the price of diesel won’t stay where it is,” Steve said.
“As a result we had a lot of enquires that focused on solar supplementing the grid, particularly in the case of large river pumps.
“We also spoke to farmers about installing up to 100Kw on some sites, which would allow them to apply for small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which would bring down the cost of new kVA demand charges for larger users.”
With most enquiries coming from the Wee Waa, Narrabri and Moree area, Steve said that REAQUA received a total of 30 leads ranging from one bore pump for a dam, to pumping for 15 pivots.
“Most enquires were for large pumps above 37KW,” Steve said. “There were also a few enquires that would suit the PSk2 range.”
But it was Andrew Gill’s presentation on the final day of the conference that really got chins wagging, with the system Andrew uses taking pride of place on display at the REAQUA booth.
SPS was also well represented, with news of a new sales rep in Goondiwindi making its way around the Conference delegates.
“The new SPS rep will be charged with contacting and assisting farmers on the ground, which will make a huge difference for SPS Solar in that area,” Steve said.
“For farmers who will be upgrading their pump system with a new pump, or using existing pumps to go to Hybrid, SPS Solar has indicated that the pump and drives will be installed through REAQUA, so it’s good news for all of us.”
Sharing the Conference space with GREEN EXPO, REAQUA also received enquiries from a number of nurseries asking about solar pumping for their irrigation – indicating great potential for whole Solar Power sales to the nursery market.
“All in all it was a pretty successful conference,” Steve said. “There are a number of opportunities for both LORENTZ/REAQUA and SPS Solar Solutions in the cotton industry.”