BOSOLA – a demonstration project on photovoltaic irrigation
Setting up a hybrid irrigation system using solar energy to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
In recent years in Spain, the price of electricity for irrigation communities has dramatically increased, e.g. by 1 250 % between 2008 and 2013. This has reduced the competitiveness of many farms. Additionally, it is estimated that conventional irrigation systems release more than 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year due to the consumption of electricity produced from fossil fuels.
The Las Planas Irrigation Community, in Alfaro, La Rioja, located in northern Spain, set up a multidisciplinary innovation team to convert their old irrigation infrastructure into a hybrid system that would operate using energy from photovoltaic panels. The project involved technical activities to set up the hybrid irrigation system, testing and collecting data, as well as information dissemination and promotion activities.
Within four months of operation, 84 981 m3 of water had been pumped using renewable energy. That was approximately 30 % of the total annual water consumption.
Comparing the data from irrigating with the hybrid system compared to the previous three years, it appeared that energy consumption had been reduced by 50 % during the irrigation months and by 18 times during the non-irrigation months.
Estimates show that there will be 117 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided per year.