TechTour: Using solar energy to power irrigation pivots


The way we farm is continuously changing, including the way farms with irrigated acres power their irrigation pivots.

The idea of using solar energy to help offset the cost of operating pivots once seemed foreign, but there’s growing interest some early adopters have setup solar installations.

Merlinds Farms Ltd, near Grassy Lake, Alta. was the first in Southern Alberta to sign on to an on-farm solar management program.

In this episode of the TechTour video series, Kara Oosterhuis, field editor with RealAgriculture, speaks with one of the partners of Merlinds Farms Ltd, Cory Nelson, about the solar panels he has had operating in his field since November.

Brothers Cory and Lindsay Nelson have installed two solar arrays in two dry corners, with the hopes of eventually producing enough power in the winter to cover an irrigation half-section and section machine in the summer.

“We have two solar arrays – one with three rows, just a little under 45 kilowatts, and the one one is bigger, just over 90 kilowatts. The smaller one runs a half-section pivot with a 75 horsepower pump, and the other runs a section pivot with a 125 horsepower pump,” says Nelson.

He notes they are looking into potentially installing more panels in the future.

Using solar energy to power irrigation pumps is one example of on-farm innovation, the theme for this season of the TechTour video series, brought to you by RealAgriculture and Dow AgroSciences.

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