Factors influencing the adoption of solar photovoltaic systems for water pumping by Australian sugarcane irrigators

Janine W. Powell, Jon M. Welsh, David Pannell, Ross Kingwell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemerapeer-review

Abstract

Sugarcane farmers have several options to manage their energy costs of irrigation. One option these farmers are yet to widely adopt is solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for energy generation. We sought to understand the potential rate and peak level of adoption by Australian sugarcane irrigators of solar PV energy systems for water pumping and the key factors influencing adoption using the ADOPT framework to examine farmers' adoption behaviour regarding solar PV systems. A small industry survey and focus group findings were used to apply the ADOPT framework, and sensitivity testing was performed. After 10 years, 50% of sugarcane farmers were estimated to adopt solar PV systems into irrigation plant. Farmers' adoption decisions were predicted to be influenced by several factors, including economic and environmental benefits, ease of use, existing knowledge, business risk and the farmer's current financial position. Sensitivity testing revealed that improving the profitability from installing solar PV systems could markedly increase the level of adoption. Grid connection policies and government renewable energy subsidies that increased income or reduced capital costs and, thereby, increased economic returns for sugarcane irrigators could improve peak adoption levels by up to 40%. Government policies had a greater impact on adoption than environmental benefits generated by the PV systems. From the results we infer that the historically changing relative advantage of the technology has resulted in some farmers exercising the option to hold off investing until they feel the relative advantage has peaked. This is the first study using the ADOPT framework to consider solar technology in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages446-448
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event42nd Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Conference 2021, ASSCT 2021 - Bundaberg West, Australia
Duration: 20 Apr 202123 Apr 2021

Conference

Conference42nd Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Conference 2021, ASSCT 2021
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CityBundaberg West
Period20/04/2123/04/21

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