A new demonstration project to power irrigation pumping systems with solar photovoltaic (PV) energy has launched in Bundaberg.

The primary outcome of the project is to demonstrate the costs savings associated with the use of solar power with the conventional “big gun” irrigation over a period of three growing seasons.

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the project aims to reduce irrigators’ dependence on grid-supplied electricity, which powers the majority of irrigation systems in Bundaberg.

“In an effort to combat rising electricity prices, the project aims show the cost efficiencies that can be achieved by using solar PV to power high pressure irrigation systems,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group (BRIG) will deliver the $890,000 project, which is supported by a $447,000 investment from the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“The investment aligns with the Coalition Government’s technology neutral, non-ideological approach to provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emission future.”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said many canegrowers were looking at alternative options with electricity costs continuing to rise.

“Investments like this by Coalition Government will help to bring down the cost of electricity for households and businesses which have been facing increasing bills,” Mr Pitt said.

The demonstration project is expected to be completed in 2020.

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