Agriculture eyes switch to solar energy

| July 16, 2018

The Agricultural Sector was mentioned in the 2018 Clean Energy Australia Report as being a major player in the growth of medium scale solar systems. This is s trend that award-winning business Suntrix can identify with, having installed over 700kW of solar in the last 12 months alone for agricultural clients.

Agricultural businesses with varied crop types and land sizes are realising that with rising electricity prices, switching to solar makes commercial sense, says Suntrix Managing Director Jenny Paradiso.

“Take our recent installations for SA Mushrooms and a chicken farm in Northern SA; both businesses rely on high-energy, temperature-controlled sheds to house their product,” Ms Paradiso said. “On the upside, those same sheds offer up the perfect solution to offsetting rising electricity costs – lots of roof-space for solar panels.”

The 82kW installation at SA Mushrooms, comprising 264 panels, is expected to save owner Nick Femia over $32K a year, with a predicted pay-back period of just 2.5 years.

“This is the second time we have enlisted Suntrix to help us manage our electricity costs,” Mr Femia said. “We had a 100kW system installed in 2013 and since then we have had consistent expansion. We are looking forward to enjoying further reduced energy bills; and we already have Suntrix quoting for a 180kW system for our next expansion in 2019.”

According to a survey commissioned by the Victorian Government, farmers cited high up-front investment costs as the biggest barrier to implementing energy cost solutions.  With the increased accessibility of solar, this energy efficient approach can be achieved with no capital expenditure and without increasing operating costs. Return on investment has never been better.

With demand for sheds increasing as farmers look to protect their produce from extreme weather conditions, and as cost savings on electricity benefit cash-flow and sustainability, the agricultural sector is a shining example of an industry looking to future-proof and safeguard Australian growers.