Solar Irrigation In Western Canada
A review of 2018 irrigation service rates showed that from electricity costs perspectives irrigation in British Columbia is least expensive, in Saskatchewan it is moderately expensive and in Alberta Fortis territory it is very expensive.
The current commercial pricing for power in Alberta provides incentive for selling less to the grid while consuming most of the solar energy behind the fence. The excess of solar sold to the grid is paid only energy price, which is often is about twice lower than all-in price for the electricity delivered to the site.
Irrigation pumping sites in Fortis Alberta territory currently are charged $0.0814/KWh (June 2018) for the delivery, in addition to the energy charges that fluctuates with the market. As a result, many pivots in southern Alberta are paying one of the most expensive prices for electricity in the Western Canada.
As we know, the challenges in Alberta create opportunities for alternative solutions. For pumping and irrigation services this solution is solar electric systems. Ground-mounted solar is becoming financially attractive for farmers with pivots for the following reasons:
Solar energy is offsetting the most expensive power that pivot services in Alberta are paying;
Sothern Alberta is blessed with one of the best solar resources throughout Canada;
Alberta and Agriculture On-Farm Solar PV program offers upto 35% funding;
The need for irrigation well correlates with the timing of the solar energy.
Dandelion Renewables is working to optimise the value for irrigation customers by implementing the following new technologies:
Single axis trackers allow to widen the daily window of solar production and better utilize narrow N-S shaped land parcels;
Bi-facial solar modules help to improve ground-coverage ratio;
Floating solar systems has a potential to reduce evaporation from open surface water reservoirs;
Development of storage and added-value power intense business opportunities that can utilize solar energy during off-season.
In addition to larger sized irrigation pivots, solar can be used for “direct solar pumping”. Every-time it is sunny the water is pumped into an elevated reservoir or a water tank, to be used later for irrigation. A control system for these applications helps to ensure the elevated tank does not float over or the well pump does not dry out. Community gardens or cattle feeders are good examples for the small scale direct solar pumping systems.
Whichever solar pumping system you choose us to install, we can design custom programmable controls with performance monitoring for both solar generation, pumping and irrigation. Assuming you have Internet or at least a cell service at the location, the performance of the entire system can be monitored online from the comfort of your office.