WD Case Study: Harnessing Solar Power for Efficient Irrigation



Moving water uphill has been a challenge since ancient times. We have come a long way from then, but still, overcoming the challenges associated with gravity, friction, energy consumption, and environmental impact requires careful planning, efficient infrastructure, and proper project management.

In the pursuit of sustainable agricultural practices, Water Dynamics partnered with an equestrian stud farm located alongside the King River to look at ways to revolutionise their existing irrigation system. This case study explores the transformation from traditional diesel-powered pumping to an innovative solar-powered solution, highlighting the benefits and outcomes achieved.

A Grundfos framed array of high-efficiency (370W) Solar panels installed by Water Dynamics as part of the complete new system, drawing water from the nearby river.

Addressing Operational Inefficiencies

The client faced significant challenges with their outdated diesel-powered irrigation system, including high operational costs, manual labour requirements, and environmental concerns. These inefficiencies necessitated a strategic overhaul of the irrigation infrastructure.

Innovative Solution Implementation

Water Dynamics proposed the adoption of a Grundfos solar-powered SQFlex submersible pump technology to harness renewable solar energy for water pumping.
This solution, coupled with advanced automation and control features, streamlining operations, and minimising environmental impact. The new system pumps water from alongside the King River to fill twin 50,000 litre tanks located on a high point of the equestrian stud farm.
This system pushes water 70m up a hillside to a retention tank which then gravity feeds water to all the stock troughs. The automated radio-controlled system maintains the storage tanks at a high water level so the reserves are immediately available to replenish the troughs a piping network is installed to direct gravity water feeds downhill as required to achieve optimum results in different areas of the farm.

Key Components and Features

The Grundfos Solar-Powered SQFlex Submersible Pump Set: Utilises renewable solar energy for efficient water lifting, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Grundfos Titan SQFL Plug and Play Controller: Ensures precise control and monitoring of water supply, optimising system performance.

400m Piping Network: Custom-engineered to facilitate automated control and consistent water flow rates, enhancing irrigation efficiency.

Remotely controlled feeds pumps from the SQFlex range(left) eliminate the need for multiple trips to start and stop the old diesel system. Previously the property owner was using an engine drive pump manually every second day talking about 2-3 hours each time. The system is now completely automatic, freeing the owner up to attend to other tasks as the solar (right), feeds the retention tank feed

Benefits and Outcomes

The implementation of the solar-powered pumping system has many significant benefits for the client including;

Cost Reduction:  Elimination of fossil fuel costs and reduced operational expenses.

Environmental Sustainability: Reduction in pollution and carbon emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation.

Operational Efficiency: Automation and remote control minimises manual intervention, enhancing productivity, and eliminating the farmer from walking down to an old diesel pump and turning it on every time!

Long-Term Viability: Adoption of renewable energy ensures resilience and sustainability of the farm operation.

Results, Impact and Conclusion

The transition to solar-powered irrigation has empowered the client to embrace sustainable agricultural practices while enhancing operational efficiency and reducing environmental footprint. By leveraging innovative technology, Water Dynamics has set a precedent for sustainable irrigation solutions in the agricultural sector.

The success of this project underscores the transformative potential of solar-powered irrigation in driving sustainability and resilience in agriculture. Water Dynamics continues to pave the way for a more sustainable future in farming, benefiting both the environment and agricultural communities.

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