Tag Archives: commercial solar

Queensland cotton farmer makes the shift to solar

US Nasdaq listed company VivoPower said on Monday that its wholly owned Australia subsidiary, Aevitas, had been chosen to build the solar project at Cubbie Station – the largest irrigated cotton farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Cubbie Solar Farm will be owned by a subsidiary of Cubbie, and will generate enough electricity to supply 40 percent of the Station’s energy needs during the peak cotton ginning season, running from April to September.

But that is just the beginning of the company’s renewable energy plans. The cotton grower’s longer-term goal is to expand the solar farm to 7.2MW and add battery storage.

And on its website, Cubbie says its ultimate goal is to provide power to the nearby towns of Dirranbandi and St George in south-west Queensland.

As we wrote here almost two years ago, the potential for solar to power energy-intensive farming applications like irrigation around the country is huge – and the need, even greater.

“I see hundreds of irrigation pumps out there, connected to filthy diesel,” said Queensland-based solar installer Matthew Beech at the time.

“We firmly believe that the only reasons there hasn’t been more uptake (of solar) … is that it hasn’t been sold very well to the end user.”

But the transition is happening. In 2105, a cotton farmer in Moree, NSW, added a 70kW ground-mounted solar array with backup battery storage to its diesel engine direct drive pump, with the aim of cutting its diesel consumption by 60 percent.

And just this week, a trial led by business energy retailer Flow Power, with the UTS’ Institute of Sustainable Futures, showed how much a Victorian almond grower could save on energy costs using not just renewables, but demand management technology.Queensland cotton farmer makes the shift to solar

At Cubbie Station, the 80,000 hectare property uses 19,000 for irrigated farming with cotton going to the onsite Ginnery (pictured above), which was upgraded in 2017.

Cubbie also plants cover crops of wheat and chickpeas, when the opportunity arises.

“This important contract is further confirmation of the strong growth outlook for Aevitas from solar and other tailwind drivers in Australia,” said VivoPower CEO Carl Weatherley-White.

“Technical advances continue to drive the competitiveness of solar power generation and battery storage, and we have seen increased interest from our customers for similar solutions,” said Phil Lowbridge, from Aevitas.

Construction of phase one of the project is scheduled to begin in October 2018, and be in operation by the end of the year.

Solar beer: A tour of Australia’s PV powered craft breweries

Solar beer, the best of both worlds!  Of the growing number of global industries shifting their energy supply to renewable energy, the world’s brewers have so far been well represented.

Global heavyweights like Anheuser Bosch In-Bev have committed to purchase electricity renewable sources only by 2025, bringing with it some of Australia’s most iconic brewers, including Carlton & United (CUB), which in March signed a contract to buy the output of the 112MW Karadoc solar farm in Victoria.

But the shift to solar powered beer has perhaps been even more definitive among the nation’s independent “craft” brewers.

And as luck would have it – and to coincide with the 8th annual Good Beer Week (yes, that’s a thing) – the Clean Energy Council has released a shortlist of solar powered craft breweries.

Many of these we have written about on One Step, but in the interest of solar beer sharing, we wanted to share the CEC list, to help readers find their local “pint of sunshine.”

And you know of a brewery that has also gone solar and is not listed here, then please tell us. We can think of Stone & Wood as one example.

But on with the CEC list. Cheers!

Young Henry’s, Sydney, NSW


We last wrote about this brewery – and the great community solar story behind it – a couple of years ago.

The story goes that the Newtown brewer raised a total of $17,500 in just nine minutes through a community investment round led by Pingala Cooperative, to help pay for the installation of a 29.9kW solar array.

Those solar panels now power the Young Henry’s brewing operation, allowing the owners to offset grid consumption and, most importantly, produce solar-powered beer.

As well as partaking of that beer, the 56 investors were expected to achieve returns of more than 5 per cent p.a. over the term of the project.

Bright Brewery, Victoria


Another subject of a One Step story back in February 2016, this craft brewery in Bright, in Victoria’s north east, installed a 50kW rooftop solar system to supply all of its electricity needs. At the time, the owners said it would save them around $18,000 a year on grid electricity costs. At the launch of the PV system, brewery owner Scott Brandon called on Australia’s craft brewing industry to put sustainable operations on the its national agenda.

“We believe that sustainability should be an underpinning value of what defines a craft brewer. For us, craft brewing means really caring about how you make beer, why you’re making beer and the impact that the process and product has on your customers and surrounds. And that includes caring about your impact on the environment and the sustainable nature of your business,” he said.

He also said the company’s next focus would be on the energy required to heat the brewery boiler, which was powered by natural gas and required around 12MWh of power each month.

“Although solar was a relatively simple first step to reducing our carbon footprint, the next thing we have to tackle is gas,” said Brandon. “It’s a major component of all brewery operations like ours, and there’s no simple answer like rooftop solar.”

Stomping Ground, Melbourne, Victoria


This craft brewery in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood has installed just under 100kW of PV panels that installed, Beon Energy Solutions, said would generate enough power to supply 20 homes, and cover around 60 percent of the brewer’s sizeable energy needs.

As we reported here, that project was guided by the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF), an independent Melbourne organisation that helps households, businesses, community groups and governments make the transition to solar.

Helios Brewing, Brisbane, Queensland


Named after the Greek sun God tasked by Zeus to tow the sun across the sky each day, this brewery not only uses rooftop solar for power, but has installed an “innovative solar thermal system” heats water to over 90°C and then stores it in tanks before being using it to heat its “mash tun” – which the website tells us means no power is required for the first half of the brewing process.

The brewery also has plans to install battery storage, and cuts its waste to landfill by given its spent grain to local pig farmers.

Grand Ridge Brewery, Gippsland, Victoria


This south-eastern Victorian brewer installed its 100kW rooftop PV system more than four years ago, in February 2014 – back when 100kW commercial solar systems weren’t a dime a dozen. According to the CEC, it was also making craft beer back in 1989, so it’s a trailblazer across the board. The Gippsland Solar installed PV system means the brewery generates the majority of its own power. (And has dozens of different types of beers to offer!)

The Grove Distillary, Busselton, WA


According to this article from the local paper, Wilyabrup’s The Grove Distillery, Café and Brewery went “off the grid” completely early this year, with solar and battery storage. Perhaps more a distillery than a brewery (good organic gin, apparently), the company began the shift to solar in mid-2017, installing 220 solar panels, and “four and a half tonnes of batteries” housed in a shed.

Owner Val Hughes said the business took advantage of a federal government rebate and expected to recoup the money spent by the savings made from using solar power.

Van Dieman Brewing, White Hills, Tasmania


In the interests of fair national representation, here’s one we could add to the CEC list. The brewery installed a 48-kilowatt solar array at their White Hills farm in northern Tasmania in December 2016. Founder and head rrewer Will Tatchell said at the time that the on-site generation “should see us satisfy up to 80 per cent of the brewery’s total electric demand annually.”

Beer Garden Brewing, Port Lincoln, South Australia


And finally, this brewery on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula installed a 20kW rooftop solar system in October last year, with the help of local outfit Lincoln Electrical. According to its website, Beer Garden Brewing holds sustainability as a “key value,” including solar power, rainwater for brewing, recycling of wastewater, an edible beer garden “and spent grain from the brewing process feeding cows that later return to our menu to close the loop.” And they have 10 of their own beers on tap.

Contact ASM today to talk about how you can go solar and build your business at the same time.



Melbourne’s Crown complex has installed a 300kW rooftop solar system

The system, designed and installed by Beon Energy Solutions and switched on in January, is being claimed as the largest in the Melbourne CBD, but One Step notes that a 400kW array was installed on the Port Melbourne roof of NextDC’s HQ in December 2013.

And given that was nearly five years ago – and in light of our own experience in publishing claims of “biggests” and “firsts” – there are bound to be others of a similar size we aren’t aware of (please comment below if you happen to know of any).

That said, the new Crown system – a total of 923 photovoltaic panels installed on top of the Southbank venue’s administration building on north-orientated 10-degree tilt frames – is nonetheless impressive.

And it adds to a growing number of commercial scale PV projects being installed in the Melbourne CBD – which according to a recent report, still holds a significant amount of untapped rooftop solar potential.

The report, published by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) in conjunction with the University of NSW, identified enough suitable rooftop space in the Melbourne local government area to install a total of 461MW of PV.

And it said businesses in Melbourne’s CBD could meet more than 12 percent of their own electricity needs – and cut their collective power costs by more than $100 million – just by tapping the city’s true rooftop solar potential.

Ironically, Crown Casino was named in that same report – alongside the MCG and Flinders Street Station – as one of the city’s landmark buildings that had the potential to go solar.

“Crown has been looking at solar options for a while, and the business case for a solar installation made sense,” said Crown Melbourne engineering manager Jeremy Sampson in comments on Tuesday.

“Crown chooses projects that are guaranteed to provide positive value, and it was the right decision to proceed.”

Beon said the PV system also needed to integrate with Crown’s existing co-generation plant, which provides standby emergency power and heat capacity.

Beon Energy Solutions general manager, Glen Thomson, said the company was delighted to deliver another successful large-scale solar solution.

“As with all our customers, the Crown project required some customisations that we managed to accommodate swiftly,” he said.

“I applaud Crown’s renewable energy initiative and I have no doubt that other energy-intensive sectors will be watching with interest as they weigh up their future energy requirements.”

Contact ASM to discuss how you can build your business.

CUB has begun shift to 100 per cent renewable energy

Australia’s biggest brewing company, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), has begun its shift to 100 per cent renewable energy by signing a contract with the new 112MW Karadoc solar farm in Victoria.

The deal with German renewable energy developer BayWa will be closely followed by rooftop solar at all the brewing company’s sites in Australia, part of a plan to reach the 100 per cent target by the end of this year and to lock in lower electricity costs.

“This represents an important step in CUB’s commitment to 100 per cent of its electricity being sourced from renewables,” says Jan Craps, the CEO of CUB.

“As one of Australia’s first and leading manufacturing businesses, we have a responsibility to ensure we play our part in tackling climate change and a range of environmental challenges.”

The push by CUB to 100 per cent renewable energy extends the growing list of businesses, including major manufacturers and large energy users in Australia and overseas, to turn to wind and solar to lock in low electricity costs.

“Beyond our driving commitment to reduce our emissions, the investment also stacks up when you look at the reduced price we will pay to power our operations,” Craps says.

“Moving to renewable energy will ensure that we have certainty of supply and pricing, something that is incredibly important for a manufacturing business like ours.”

Already, UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has unveiled plans to roll out more than 1GW of solar, plus a new “world’s biggest” battery near Port Augusta and pumped hydro storage as part of his plans to revitalise the Whyalla steelworks and slash that plant’s electricity costs by 40 per cent.

Gupta plans a similar rollout at its steel operations in Victoria and NSW, while Queensland zinc refiner Sun Metals will soon open a 116MW solar farm to help underpin its expansion plans and keep a lid on costs.

Telstra, one of the country’s big electricity users, has signed contracts with the huge Murra Warra wind farm in Victoria – along with ANZ and CC Amatil – and has also signed a contract for the soon to be completed Emerald solar farm in Queensland.

The push by CUB is part of a global push by its owner Anheuser-Busch In-Bev, to aim for 100 per cent renewable energy for its entire operations by 2025, as we reported here.

But CUB’s head of sustainability Jan Clysner, said he hoped to reach 100 per cent by the end of the year, once the Karadoc solar farm is completed and the rooftop solar installed. “It’s a bit of stretch, but that’s how we get to the best results,” he told RenewEconomy.

“It makes sense commercially, and it’s the right thing to do for the environment. That’s why we are pushing as fast as possible.”

Clysner said the use of solar would lower the electricity bill compared to what they pay today, but wouldn’t reveal details of the contract with BayWa.

Brewers around the world are following suit. MillerCoors has contracted solar in California, and Heineken has a 70% renewables target for 2030.Currently it’s at 23 per cent.

In Australia, any number of boutique brewers are taking similar paths – both for environmental credential and to lower electricity costs. These include Collingwood-based Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Young Henry’s and Bright Brewery.

CUB has signed a 12 year power purchase agreement for less than half of the output of the Karadoc solar farm in Mildura, but says this will account for nearly 90 per cent of its total electricity needs. The rest can be met with rooftop solar.

The deal with BayWa is the result of a tender by Foster’s for the delivery of its renewable energy needs. A total of 15 different companies were talked to, both wind and solar.

The solar farm is being built now by Melbourne-based Beon Energy Solutions. It says all facilities will remain on-grid.

CUB brews include Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Great Northern, Pure Blonde, Carlton Dry, Melbourne Bitter, Crown Lager, Cascade Premium Light, and the Yak Ales.


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