Minister to Launch Australia's Biggest Solar Diesel Pump for Irrigation 21 September



CONTACT: KARIN STARK (M: 0438 187 014, E: [email protected])

Launch event

The solar pumping system will be switched on at a VIP launch ceremony for invited media, dignitaries and special guests.

Launch details

  • 11am, Friday 21 September 2018
  • ‘Waverleigh’, 2847 Narwonah Road, Narromine NSW


11.00     Welcome, presentations

12.00     Solar pumping system switched on, water pumped to channel

12.15     Interviews

12.30     Refreshments


  • The Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water
  • The Hon. Troy Grant, MP, Member for Dubbo, Minister for Police, and Minister for Emergency Services
  • Dugald Saunders, Nationals Candidate for Dubbo
  • The Hon. Mark Coulton MP
  • Fiona Simpson, Chair, National Farmers Federation
  • Jon Elder, 4th Generation Farmer
  • Ben Lee, ReAqua Managing Director
  • CSIRO, Brian Spak Grid and Renewables Integration Leader for CSIRO Energy


Key points

  • Biggest solar diesel pumping system in Australia
  • Renewable energy/solar power to build drought resilience
  • Accredited power station on family farm
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Improved farm viability, lower energy costs
  • Science and emerging technology merging with agriculture to make it smarter, cleaner and greener.


Free energy from the sun is the latest weapon in the fight against droughts impacting farms in New South Wales.

A cotton farm near Narromine, Central NSW, is home to Australia’s newest renewable energy power station, and biggest solar pumping system.

The 500kW solar pumping system at a farm near Narromine, installed by Australian company ReAqua, comprises 1,500 solar panels arranged over an area of one hectare.

The system is an accredited power station under the Federal Government’s Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), administered by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Under the LRET scheme, the farm earns Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) for power it generates. These are estimated at $120,000 over the next five years.

The system is expected to reduce diesel consumption used for irrigating the farm by about 50 per cent each year and reduce 500 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere annually.

The solar pumping system at Waverleigh was partially funded by a loan from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority’s Farm Innovation Fund. It will also host a solar forecasting technology trial by CSIRO.


Quotes attributable to cotton famer Jon Elder

  • We expect to the system will pay for itself in 5 years based on diesel savings alone.  The sale of LGCs further contributes to our bottom line.
  • Our winter crops, mostly wheat, are not irrigated so they are impacted by drought conditions. Integrating solar power reduces our on-going operating costs, setting us up for challenging years ahead.
  • Diesel is the highest cost on our farm, and has been a real constraint on growth, and a factor in our vulnerability to drought. The partial switch to solar powered pumping is a game-changer for us.
  • Incorporating solar power will also reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by about 500 tonnes each year, and we’re very proud of that.

Quotes attributable to ReAqua Managing Director Ben Lee

  • Solar pumping systems are still a new technology in Australian agriculture, so the potential upside is huge.
  • Early adopters have found it to be a critical factor in building drought resilience and overall farm viability.
  • We’ve seen significant growth in numbers of enquiries from farmers wanting to reduce their energy costs.
  • The 500kW solar pumping system is an iconic proof of concept for large-scale solar installations on farms.


Jon Elder’s farm

  • Located 35 kilometres south-west of Narromine, Central NSW.
  • Grows 550+ hectares of cotton annually, irrigated with groundwater allocated under a Water Access Licence issued by WaterNSW.
  • Grows 1,000 hectares of wheat and other grains as winter crops on un-irrigated land. Which failed this year due to the drought.
  • Consumed about 350,000 litres of diesel each year to fuel water pumps, prior to incorporation of solar power.


  • Wholly-owned Australian company.
  • Provides solar pumping solutions throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
  • Specialises in agricultural, commercial and industrial solar pumping systems via a dealer network of over 200 accredited local dealers.

Large-scale Renewable Energy Target

(Copied from Clean Energy Regulator website:

  • The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) incentivises the development of renewable energy power stations in Australia through a regulated market for the creation and sale of large-scale generation certificates (LGCs).
  • Power stations accredited in the LRET are able to create LGCs for electricity generated from that power station’s renewable energy sources. LGCs can then be sold to entities with liabilities under the LRET (mainly electricity retailers) to meet their compliance obligations.
  • Liable entities are required to buy LGCs from the market and surrender these certificates to the Clean Energy Regulator on an annual basis. The number of LGCs required to be submitted by liable entities is set each year through the renewable power percentage​.
  • LGCs can also be sold to companies and individuals looking to voluntarily offset their energy use and emissions.
  • The accreditation of power stations and creation of LGCs continues under the LRET until 2030.

Farm Innovation Fund

(Copied from NSW Rural Assistance Authority website:

  • A package to assist primary producers identify and address risks to their farming enterprise, improve permanent farm infrastructure and ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use, aiding in meeting changes to seasonal conditions.


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