AGL Energy (AGL) has announced it is partnering with Australian Farming Services (AFS) on three bespoke renewable energy projects for their farming enterprises in Riverina, NSW.

It comes within a week of AGL breaking ground at AFS’ Cadell Orchards on the construction of the first microgrid system, which comprises a five-hectare solar farm and 5.4MWh battery, providing enough renewable energy to power a small town.1

AGL will also be working with AFS on two further microgrid projects at the Canally Almond Orchard and Murray Downs Processing Facility, with both projects aiming to reduce reliance on diesel, harness renewable energy sources and provide energy resilience and reliability to their businesses.

AGL Chief Customer Officer, Jo Egan, said the expansion of the partnership to include Canally Almond Orchard and the Murray Downs Processing Facility demonstrates that AGL offers commercial and industrial customers innovative and cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

“AGL has been working with AFS to model energy usage and to design an integrated and innovative renewable energy system to lower their costs and meet their future needs across Cadell Orchards, Canally Orchards and Murray Downs Processing Plant,” Ms Egan said.

“We are excited to support AFS achieve their sustainability goals and work together to complete three large renewable energy projects in the Riverina community. Our partnership is testament to the great work we are doing in partnering with businesses to provide tailored energy solutions and support our customers to decarbonise the way they live, move and work.”

With Cadell Orchards and Canally Orchards currently relying on 100 percent diesel generation to power its irrigation, the onsite microgrids will reduce their reliance on diesel by 85 percent, slashing the orchards’ combined Scope 1 CO2-e emissions by 10,900 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 3,027 cars off the road.2

AFS Chief Executive Officer, David Armstrong, said with AGL’s support, the agribusinesses are transforming their farming operations to generate clean and renewable solar power, providing greater energy resilience for the remote area.

“We manage more than 4,400 hectares and nearly 1.5 million trees in some of Australia’s most productive horticultural regions,” Mr Armstrong said.

“We are working closely with AGL as they design, build and operate the solar-powered microgrid at Cadell Orchards and Canally Orchards and deliver the almond farms an 85 percent reduction in diesel fuel, slashing our emissions and providing substantial cost savings each year.

“As one of the largest employers in the region, these renewable energy projects provide our businesses with greater energy price certainty and better energy reliability so we can focus on producing Australian-grown almonds.”

AGL is a leader in commercial solar with 199MW of decentralised assets under orchestration and more than 178 MW of commercial solar assets under monitoring and management.

Cadell Orchards

  • AGL commenced construction at Cadell Orchards of a 4.9MW tracking solar farm, a 5.4MWh battery system, 7km of new underground powerlines, an inverter, grid stability unit and microgrid controller and communications.
  • Cadell Orchards is a 1,690-hectare almond orchard that is not connected to the energy grid owing to its location and is irrigated with electric pumps that are currently powered by diesel generators.
  • AGL is building, owning and operating the solar-powered microgrid under a long-term power purchase agreement, providing most of Cadell’s electricity needs and reducing their reliance on diesel fuel by 85 percent and delivering up to 40 percent of energy savings each year.

Canally Orchards

  • AGL will construct a microgrid at the 2,500-hectare Canally Almond Orchard comprising a 6.5MWpDC solar array and a 5.1 MWh battery storage system. As part of the project, AGL will build powerlines underground to connect the solar array with Canally’s irrigation pumping stations.
  • The microgrid will deliver an 85 percent reduction in diesel usage and a reduction of 7,000 tonnes in Canally’s Scope 1 annual CO2 emissions over the 20-year tenure of the power purchase agreement.
  • AGL will also explore using the excess solar energy to power agricultural vehicles and trucks transporting products to the Murray Downs Processing Facility.

Murray Downs Processing Facility

  • AGL is conducting a feasibility study to design a flexible onsite renewable microgrid to power the site from the lowest cost mix of available grid energy, solar energy and diesel, helping to reduce site emissions and enable the site to operate seamlessly through grid outages.
  • Through the microgrid, it will look to provide grid stability services to the local network, ensuring reliable electricity in the Murray Downs region.
  • Results of the feasibility study will be complete by the end of the year.


1Estimated to power around 945 average Australian households, based on Australian average residential customer electricity usage of 5.5MWh per annum (AEC residential electricity use and customer numbers per state for FY2021 (Electricity Gas Australia 2022)

2Based on passenger vehicle fuel consumption in 2020 (ABS Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, 2020), FFC emission factors from NGA Factors November 2022