Goulburn Valley farmer cuts power costs by $62,000 a year


A fruit grower in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley has cut his grid power consumption by one-third, and cut the annual electricity bill by a whopping $62,000 a year. This was achieved by installing 200kW of solar across the rooftops of its storage sheds.

The two 100kW solar PV systems have been installed at the Central Park Orchards and Mountain Valley Produce Centre of the Rachele Group – a third generation pear and stone fruit farming family business. The Rachele family turned to solar to manage the farm’s energy costs, which they said had been increasing steadily over five years.

The 120-hectare farming operation, near Shepparton, has been growing, packing and transporting pears, nectarines, plums and peaches to supermarket shelves for more than 50 years, but co-owner Matthew Rachele said the time had come to take action on “out of control” power costs.

“We pick our fruit and then we have to pull it down to zero degrees immediately,” he said. “This refrigeration takes a lot of energy, it’s the most energy intensive part of our operations. The last couple of years in particular, our energy costs were out of control. We knew we needed to be more efficient. If we weren’t being efficient we were going backwards.”

The family engaged Australian energy services business Verdia to investigate technical solutions and provide funding via the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s backed Westpac Energy Efficiency Program. Verdia managed the quoting process, including detailed assessments of three retailers, and all aspects of the installation, connection and commissioning of the systems.

Verdia CEO Paul Peters said that the initial capital investment in the solar system would pay itself off in five years and earn an additional $1.07 million in benefits over the life of the assets.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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