The remote Queensland hotel made famous in the 1986 Australian movie Crocodile Dundee has gone solar, installing a 6.2kW PV system on the roof of its beer garden that is expected to more than cover the pub’s energy needs.
The 24-panel installation on the Walkabout Creek Hotel – re-named for its role in the iconic film – is expected to produce 11,250kWh a year, saving the business around $3,168 a year on its energy costs.
According to Trina Solar, whose hardware was used for the system, these savings could be higher, but are somewhat restricted by the maximum solar export allowed by Ergon Energy.
The pub’s solar was funded through a scheme by the local McKinlay Shire council to help local businesses reduce their power bills during the region’s disastrous drought.
The scheme – been the brainchild of Mayor Belinda Murphy – works by covering the cost of installing the solar, which the business then repays to the Council over a number of years through a levy on their rates.
Murphy said solar presented itself as an obvious solution for local businesses, after they identified freight and power as the costs with the greatest impact.
“We also went solar for council buildings and have a projected power cost saving of $60,000 per year on an annual energy bill of $340,000, so that saving of nearly 20 per cent can go into other council services or into reserve,” she said.
For the pub, with temperatures in McKinlay reaching up to 46°C in summer, harnessing solar energy instead of fossil fuelled generators makes a lot of sense.
“All our 18 rooms must be air conditioned and to provide our meal service we need a large cold room and walk-in freezer. This all adds up to a $1200 a month power bill,” said Hotel proprietor Frank Wust.