Cadell Orchard

A partnership between AGL and Cadell Orchards will see the construction of a new 5.2GWh microgrid to power irrigation at Cadell’s Sunraysia almond orchard.

The new microgrid will help reduce Cadell Orchard’s reliance on diesel generators, slashing the orchard’s scope one CO2 emissions by up to 4,700 tonnes each year – the equivalent of taking more than 1,500 cars off the road.

Cadell Orchards is a 1,690ha almond orchard planted during 2017/18, with the trees due to reach maturity during the 2023/24 season. Due to its location, the orchard is not connected to the energy grid and is irrigated with electric pumps that are currently powered by diesel generators.

AGL will build, own, and operate the solar-powered microgrid under a long-term power purchase agreement, which will provide most of Cadell’s electricity needs and reduce reliance on diesel fuel.

Installation of the new microgrid is due to start in April 2023 and is expected to provide electricity by October 2023.

AGL Chief Customer Officer, Jo Egan, said the company was helping Cadell Orchards harness solar energy to lower its emissions and to create a more sustainable farming operation.

“With enough renewable energy to power a small town, this new solar farm is the size of two MCGs and will help Cadell Orchards cut thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year,” Ms Egan said.

“AGL has been working with Cadell Orchards to model energy usage and design an integrated and innovative renewable energy system to lower their energy costs and meet the orchard’s future needs.

“AGL is committed to renewable energy and it’s through partnerships like this that we’re delivering on a low carbon future with our customers and communities as we transition towards net-zero.”

The system includes a 4.9MW tracking solar farm to be built on-site, a 5.4MWh battery system, 7km of new underground power lines, an inverter, grid stability unit and microgrid controller and communications.

Australian Farming Services manages Cadell Orchards, and its CEO, David Armstrong, said the new microgrid was another example of the company’s industry-leading approach to technology and farm management.

“Working with AGL, we’ll be able to generate clean and renewable solar power which will cut our emissions, reduce our reliance on diesel fuel by 85 per cent and deliver up to 40 per cent energy cost savings each year.

“Our orchard will also benefit from energy price certainty and better energy resilience and reliability.”

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