ON-FARM IRRIGATION ENERGY SAVING TIPS

May 13, 2019

For most California farmers, energy savings is second only to water conservation on a long list of priorities. On-farm irrigation systems make up about 70% of electricity usage; tightly correlating water and energy usage.

Farm operators work diligently around the clock optimizing their irrigation system. An efficient irrigation system can save both electricity and water, thus lowering operating costs. Revel Energy works with California farmers, helping them achieve significantly lower energy bills. The following are on-farm irrigation energy saving tips.

Understand how much electricity your irrigation pumps are using.

Knowledge is power. The more you know about your energy consumption the better you will be at addressing your rising energy costs. For California farms, irrigation systems are a major user of electricity. Revel Energy developed a simple to use table for farmers to estimate their annual irrigation pump electricity usage. View here.

California farmers use the most electricity for groundwater pumping averaging over 6 Billion kWh per year.

According to a 2014 Ag. Report by www.osti.gov

Make sure your irrigation pumps are working well over 60% efficiency.

An acceptable efficiency rate for irrigation pumps is around 85% or better. Typically, if your irrigation pump is operating at around 50% efficiency, replacing the impeller will boost efficiency back up into an acceptable range. If the efficiency is much lower or the problem persists, consider replacing the entire pump. A new pump will quickly make up for the cost of the new unit with its boost in efficiency.

Schedule pumping to avoid peak and mid peak hours.

For TOU utility customers, depending on the time of day you consume electricity will dictate your rate. Scheduling irrigation pumps to run outside of peak time is ideal. In some cases, farmers are forced to run during peak times, reasons include less evaporation, higher air moisture, etc. If farmers can shift their irrigation time to be 20% less in the peak hour, the saving will add up over time.

Gain electricity independence with on-farm renewable energy like commercial grade solar.

We can only reduce electrical consumption so much. Irrigating crops has very specific needs and guidelines. Farmers have it down to a science. Energy independence supersedes that. Installing commercial grade solar panels and an energy storage system lowers your electricity rate and demand charge to almost zero. The initial investment can be daunting for smaller California farmers. Federal Tax Credits, incentives and available financing significantly cuts upfront capital needs. Contact a Revel Energy agriculture specialists today for more information.

Make sure you are using energy-efficient water conservation practices.

Seems like an obvious one, right? Closely monitoring water saturation, dispersion or installing drip irrigation systems are just a couple methods for conserving water and energy. Water waste equals electricity waste. Revel Energy understands enough to know the pros (you the farmer) are well aware of these methods. In this case, a simple reminder goes a long way. Remember, saving energy takes diligence and consistent attention.

As investor owned utilities continue to raise rates and demand charges, California farmers are tasked with reducing electricity usage. PG&E consistently raises rates by 6% annually or more. This puts a strain on California’s agriculture industry. For now, with no rate slowdown in sight, farmers will need to continue to adapt.

Revel is on a mission. Dedicated to renewable energy solutions since 2009, Revel Energy was formed to provide Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial businesses with alternative energy beyond solar. Revel stands out from the competition by paying attention to what makes good business sense to each individual client, implementing a wider range of technologies to free up capital and make businesses sustainable and more profitable.

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