Victorian salad growing company Hussey and Co is set to install another 505kW of solar at its Sommerville farming facility, after securing a finance deal with the Sustainable Melbourne Fund.
The Mornington Peninsula business, which produces field-grown baby leaf salad mixes, is installing the new solar system using Environmental Upgrade Finance, administered by SMF and the shire council.
Mornington Peninsula Shire partnered with SMF in late 2016 to offer EUF to Shire businesses long-term loans – up to 15 years – to reduce operating costs, improve energy, waste or water efficiency or increase renewable energy generated on site.
The finance – backed by $425,000 in ARENA funding – is administered through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) between the building owners, lenders and local governments.
The 505kW Hussey and Co solar project, which is valued at $935,000, adds to an existing 99.6kW roof-mounted system at the farm (pictured above), also installed using EUF.
Cherry Energy Solutions, the installer behind both PV systems, said the success of the first project had led to stage 2, which was expected to offset 100 per cent of Hussey and Co’s peak daytime energy use.
Cherry said the 505kW ground-mounted system would be made up of 1,872 Q CELL panels and 20 Fronius inverters and would save the farming business more than $86,000 a year.
Lance Petersen, Hussey and Co general manager, said the main motivation for the company to go solar was to reduce its electricity costs, but that environmental drivers were at play, too.
“Being in a farming business we get impacted first hand by climate change impacts,” he said.
“As a result, we’re passionate about supporting any initiatives to sustain our future by reducing our carbon footprint and investing in renewable energy sources.
“Since the last 99kW solar system was installed through EUF last year, our business has realised a $14,000 reduction in our power bills.
“We expect this new solar installation of 505 kW to multiply these savings five-fold.”
Petersen said the solar power was also a way for the company to ensure security of electricity supply.
“During peak use periods or during storm events, our business frequently suffered black-outs and had to invest significant funds for back-up power.
“EUF has been a great way for our business to simply access finance with a favourable rate and term.”
According to Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Bryan Payne, nine EUAs have been signed in the Shire for finance to invest in solar and energy efficiency upgrades since January 2017.
With the addition of the 505kW Hussey and Co solar array, a total of 887kW will have been installed on the Peninsula using EUFs, he said.