Off-grid cattle station goes Solar

Off-grid cattle station goes Solar

This off-grid cattle station located close to the Gulf of Carpentaria previously operated solely from diesel generators spending $65,000 per year on diesel. With our bespoke 160kWh battery and a 44kW ground mount solar system, they are now over 90% self sufficient (allowing for excessive bad weather). Our electricians have done an absolutely incredible job on this project.

Well done Chris and Nathan!

Bargara Cane Farm – Case Study

Bargara Cane Farm – Case Study

Bargara Cane Farm - Case Study

Solar Irrigation replaces expensive grid power

Bargara Cane Farm

Solar PV replaces expensive grid power

  • 80ha family-owned and operated cane farm at Bargara, east of Bundaberg

  • The farm required a total off-grid solution that reduced the running costs of the travelling winch irrigator system.

  • The family had been approached by 34 other solar companies, however only GEM Energy was able to provide a solution that met all criteria at a reasonable price.

  • GEM Energy custom-designed a high-pressure irrigation system. To ensure that the irrigation system works properly, with minimal weight losses, evaporation and pooling, a balance between water pressure and flow rate must be met by the pumps.

The Solution

  • 55 kWp ground mounted solar array, comprised of 208 x Q CELLS Q.PRO G4.1 265Wp panels.
  • Replacement of the single high-pressure 37 kW winch pump with two smaller pumps (15 kW and 17 kW) responsible for independently controlling water pressure and flow rate.
  • Installation of a specially designed variable speed drive which coordinates the pumps, ensuring that they only function under the correct conditions.
  • The full system is designed to allow up to six hours of full operation per day; more if a lower water pressure is used.

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Dobinsons Springs, Rockhampton – Case Study

Dobinsons Springs, Rockhampton – Case Study

A company on its way to Energy Independence

Dobinsons Springs’ Solar Installation

  • 517 kWp solar system

  • Power bill reduction of AUD$160,000 per year

  • Cash flow positive from the first quarter

  • 30% of total energy requirements generated on site

  • Improved working conditions through installation of solar extraction fans

  • Generation of about AUD$39,000 in Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) per year

  • Loan structured with $0 upfront capital cost

The full story

Dobinsons Springs had a highly fluctuating electricity load due to the operation of furnaces. To make Solar work at the site, GEM Energy’s electrical engineers had to find ways to smooth out the demand curve. The high ambient temperatures required special cooling solutions for the manufacturing shed, inverter room and the solar panels on the roof.

First of all, our electrical engineers worked together with the Dobinsons team to smooth out the fluctuating electricity load. We installed solar extraction fans on the manufacturing shed, customized the array design to allow more air flow between roof and panels, and added a reverse cycle air conditioner in the inverter room.

To achieve maximum system reliability and lifetime it is important to keep all components as cool as possible. Solar components work more efficiently the cooler they are.

Dobinsons would have liked to install battery storage to become completely independent of the electricity network immediately, however, we advised them to wait until they become more cost-effective in a year or two. All of our system designs allow for future expansion.


The result

The Dobinsons Springs site has been able to generate 30% of their total energy requirements on site. The investment was cash-flow positive from the first quarter, with an expected electricity bill reduction of around $162,436 per annum. The estimated revenue of Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) is $39,000 per year.

As a bonus, the Dobinsons’ staff ended up much better off because of the improved air quality and temperature in the manufacturing sheds since our system installation.

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Bundaberg Wholesale Palms – Solar Irrigation Case Study

Bundaberg Wholesale Palms – Solar Irrigation Case Study

Bundaberg Wholesale Palms

Solar Irrigation Installation

  • 11.5 kWp of Solar PV for Irrigation

  • 20 kWp of Solar PV for general use
  • 7.5 kW solar pump drive for feeding water to crops

  • The larger system size ensures that enough power is produced to offset all costs.

  • If the customer had chosen a 7.5 kWp system to match the size of the pump, they would only come close to offsetting their usage in the middle of the day when the solar system is peaking.

  • Customer also plans to add a second pump to the system further down the track.

Look No Further. Get Started Today.

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Bundaberg Christian College – Case Study

Bundaberg Christian College – Case Study

Solar PV Installation & LED Lighting Upgrade

  • 193.98kWp of solar PV and 252kWh usable energy storage

  • Replacement of 1,500 fluro lights with LEDs

  • Reduced power usage by up to 80%

  • Savings of AUD$100,000 per year on electricity

  • Cash flow positive from the first quarter

  • Payback period of seven years

  • Over 400% return on investment before batteries need replacing

  • Generation of about AUD$20,000 in Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) per year

  • Savings over the life of the system around AUD$2,500,000

GEM Team

The container housing the solar inverters and batteries

A School Goes Hybrid

The Bundaberg Christian College (BCC) solar installation is the largest hybrid system of its kind in Australia. It supplies the school with electricity during the day while the battery storage comes into play during peak demand hours, shoulder hours and the evening. The combination of solar with with a switch to 1,500 LED lights as well as a range of other energy efficiency measures resulted in an immediate halving of electricity consumption. That meant a direct cost reduction for the project because less solar needed to be installed.

Local network requirements meant that GEM’s Engineering team had to custom-engineer a site master controller for smooth charging and discharging. To get the state-of-the-art system running at maximum efficiency we have kept monitoring the site to make improvements. The school is keen to go completely off-grid within the next few years and we are working towards that together. BCC really positions itself as a prime learning ground for sustainability, economics and engineering.

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