On-farm power generation – options for vegetable growers

Australian vegetable growers are major electricity users, with electricity costing the average farm over $50,000 annually. This project provides accurate estimates of costs and returns for generating electricity on farm.

Solar PanelsWhy study this?

A number of options for generating electricity on farm—to reduce costs—are available to growers. This project examines the details.

What was done

Six case studies were conducted in Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria to examine how and where a range of options could be implemented, as well as the economic and regulatory factors surrounding them. A combined wind generation study was conducted in Tasmania, WA and NSW.

What we found

Initial results show solar generation to be economically viable, with internal rates of return mainly between 10 and 12 percent per annum — the highest at 20 percent — and payback periods ranging from 5.4 to 9 years.

Wind generation was viable in WA and Tasmania. Power generation using natural gas was also viable, provided the farm was connected to the gas distribution grid.


A suite of fact sheets explain the variables and considerations for on farm power generation.

Update on government subsidies and policy February 2017

On farm power generation Fact Sheet: General overview

On farm power generation Fact Sheet: Solar photovoltaics (PV)

On farm power generation Fact Sheet: Gas fuelled power generation

On farm power generation Fact Sheet: Wind power

Project Final Report including Farm Case Studies


For more information contact 

Dr Gordon Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research Pty Ltd