The sun is shining from a clear, blue sky. Not a cloud is in sight. Like most days. The temperature is a sizzling 35 degrees Celsius. Again. This year, only 100 millimetres of rain have fallen on this dry land; not the optimum conditions for having a cattle ranch with only one borehole and 1,200 heads of cattle.
“I was desperate to get water. Had I not drilled the new well, I would have had to relocate or possibly sell some of the stock losing a lot of money with the price of cattle being so low at the moment, or they would have perished,” says Gary Masters, Manager of Cooinda in the Central High-lands west of Emerald, Queensland, a place just south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Running on solar power
The farm covers some 17,000 acres, and Gary Masters uses four horses for muster¬ing the cattle. The country is too rugged for mustering on a motorbike. When Gary was looking for a new installation, he was convinced from the beginning that it had to run on renewable energy.
“Power is just too expensive around here, and a diesel engine was not an option. It would also have been too hard and too costly to run new cables all the way to the new well,” he says.
He contacted local dealer and Store Manager Arron McAndrew from Total Eden and asked for a solution based on solar energy, which is perfect for remote areas, as it runs on renewable energy and is now even more scalable due to the latest addition.
“We received the specifications from Gary Masters and designed a suitable Grundfos Solar System solution based on the new inverter that delivers significantly more power to run the larger SP pump. Since the installation, we have had to back the pump off a little, so now it delivers 40 cubic meters of water to meet the water demand for the cattle every day.”
In huge demand
The 415-volt SP with the new inverter technology was introduced in 2013, and the system at Cooinda is the second installation sold in Australia. Geddes Ethel at Grundfos Australia assisted in designing the Solar Pumping installation, and is now being asked by customers for similar solutions.
“The demand for submersibles in Queensland has skyrocketed this year due to the drought. Everyone needs water more than ever, and the choice is usually the large SP pumps coupled with the new inverters due to both the economic and environmental benefits. And as long as this drought continues, we will continue to look for ground water,” says Geddes Ethell, Account Manager at Grundfos Australia.