Solar Power - A Sustainable Solution for Agriculture

Solar Power - A Sustainable Solution for Agriculture

July 30, 2021

Access to sustainable energy sources, such as solar power, allows farmers and agribusiness to replace costly non-renewable sources of power, improving profitability and cutting greenhouse emissions. Cleaner and more sustainable technologies provide a cost-effective solution for agricultural production, particularly when coupled with our GROWTunnels, post-harvest processing and storage, irrigation and pumping. The impacts of which flow on through the entire agricultural and food-supply chain, impacting local communities and the planet at large.

Solar Panels

How can solar power be used in agriculture and farming?

Solar-generated power can provide farmers with an on-going energy source, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy such as diesel and electricity created by fossil fuels, therefore providing long-term reductions in costs to growers.

Renewable energy and covered growhouses such as our GROWtunnels, are a winning combination for both farmers and the planet, creating more self-reliance, lowering carbon emissions and cutting on-going costs of food production.

Solar power can be used for powering lighting and sensors, controlling temperature through ventilation fans and rooftop shade mechanics, generating electricity for coolroom or drying facilities and pumping irrigation, making the complete growing system more economical and efficient. 

In addition, as many of our rural growers would attest to, getting power via underground cable or overhead power lines to remote areas of your farm can be a costly expedition. Alternatively, solar panels can be installed close and easily accessible to your GROWTunnel, provided there’s plenty of natural sunlight, reducing the need for expensive grid-connected setups.

GROWTunnels and Solar Power - The climate-friendly growing solution

51% of land use in Australia is agricultural in nature, so it’s no surprise that agriculture contributes to 14% of greenhouse emissions, not including the carbon-cost of agricultural inputs and machinery, which takes it up closer to 30% of greenhouse gases emitted by current agricultural practices.1 Here at GROW, we’re on a mission to reduce the impact that agriculture has on climate change. Therefore, in order to progress towards a carbon-neutral future of agriculture, we need to look at all possible avenues of reducing agricultural emissions.

Australian Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2011-2019
Graph of Greenhouse Emissions from Agriculture between 2011 and 2019 in Australia

Source: Statista 2021

Our GROWTunnels provide a protected growing environment, reducing the need for synthetic inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides, which degrades soil quality. When growing organically, the enclosed growhouse system provides a carbon-positive solution by sequestering carbon within the soil.

Temperature inside the GROWTunnel is easily controlled through ventilation fans and mechanical roof shading, all which can be powered by renewable solar technology and our smart sensors.

Our range of GROWTunnels all include rainwater collection gutters on the roof of the tunnel. By coupling digital irrigation technology with solar powered energy, growers can create their own entirely off-grid, closed-loop water harvesting system.

Smart farming sensors can also be connected to solar energy sources, providing knowledgeable insights on soil moisture, air humidity and air temperature, for even the most amateur of farmers to enhance yields and therefore profits.

Growers can extend the benefits of solar energy to power water pumps, dehydrating, cooling and storage facilities, or integrate with their residential facilities to extend the impact of solar energy beyond their GROWTunnel operations.

Environmental benefits of powering your farm with solar energy

  1. Conserves water that would ordinarily be used in conventional electricity production
  2. Improves air quality by reducing methane and CO2 generated by electricity from fossil fuels
  3. Reduces greenhouse emissions and their affect on climate change
  4. Reduces reliance on fossil fuels and the environmental impact of harvesting this finite resource

What are the costs and savings of Solar Panels in Australia?

The cost associated with setting up solar powered energy for your farm or agricultural premise will be different depending on your individual requirements. Our official solar power partners at ProSolar can provide you with an onsite assessment in order to determine your unique needs and the best financial and environmental outcome for powering your property and/or GROWTunnel. Ongoing costs are low, however annual maintenance (which can be performed by the ProSolar team) is recommended for optimal efficiency of your solar power system.

The great news is that the Australian Federal Government and many states have their own solar rebate and renewable energy rebate schemes that can help offset some of the costs associated with getting started. ProSolar can determine the specific rebate you'll receive, according to the size of your solar energy system and current government incentives, providing you with an upfront discount on your solar setup. As there are numerous factors affecting your suitability for solar power and the period it can take for your system to pay for itself, ProSolar can also help develop a cost benefit analysis, specific to your requirements.

Interested in Solar Power for your farm, GROWTunnel or residential property?

Our partners at ProSolar have a team of highly experienced solar technicians, with over 10 years experience in the industry, ready to help you create a more self-reliant and sustainable future for yourself, your farm and the planet.
Enquire about working with ProSolar via the form below.