POWER BILLS SET TO SOAR
Coming off a three-year electricity contract, Drouin’s Lyrebird Retirement Village CEO, Bill Baker, was shocked at the steep costs of electricity:
“Because our contract was negotiated three years ago, a lot has happened since then. When we began negotiating our new electricity rates with an outside body, we found that coming off such a low rate, the new rates supplying from the 1st of July were extremely high in comparison.
“So what was $170,000 this year, if we didn’t do anything, we’d be looking at close to $300,000. It was going to just about double if we didn’t do anything.”
Andrew McCarthy, Founder and Managing Director of Gippsland Solar, described the impact of skyrocketing electricity prices on businesses in the region: “Lyrebird Village’s situation is one that we’re seeing all over Gippsland. The current increase in electricity rates is absolutely unprecedented, and any business coming off contracts can expect a huge increase in their electricity costs.”
Baker and the Board at Lyrebird decided to take action, commissioning a solar installation with local experts, Gippsland Solar.
The 100 kW solar installation, featuring over 350 panels, was completed in June this year. With soaring electricity prices, and solar more affordable than ever before, McCarthy explained how solar is a smart investment for all businesses.
“Solar panel prices have never been lower, and Government incentives are still around in their current form until the end of this year. It’s created a ‘perfect storm’ for investing in solar power, where every single business in Gippsland can use their roof to lower their electricity bills.
“Most businesses don’t even outlay anything to install solar on their roof. They simply use the solar savings to pay off the system for the next 5 years, or even just buy the electricity the system generates for far less than what they are currently paying for electricity.
Basically, it’s cheaper to install solar than to continue buying electricity from the grid.”
With the average commercial solar system paid off over 5 years, businesses are able to effectively achieve up to 20 years of free electricity. This means that businesses with solar are insulated against rising electricity costs and have increased cash ﬂow to invest in other areas.
Although only newly installed, Baker is looking forward to reduced electricity bills and the opportunities increased cash ﬂow could provide for Lyrebird:
“There’s lots of things. Like we haven’t got the funding for: a social worker or psychologist, so when people ﬁrst come in, they could have a discussion with a professional about the transition from being in an independent home, to a community living situation. Funding those positions would be more sustainable when we’ve got some extra money to save with this.”
Before deciding on Gippsland Solar for the installation, Baker and the Board conducted extensive research.
“It took months. We discussed it thoroughly and ﬁnally came to the decision that Gippsland Solar would be the one. “A big reason we chose them is because they’re local- and the money stays local. We’ve always been very conscious of keeping things local, being a local organisation employing local people, where we can, we’d like to employ local trades too.”
Professionalism and approachability was another factor which inﬂuenced Lyrebird’s decision to choose Gippsland Solar. Baker explained:
“We had a discussion and I felt very comfortable with how he [Andrew] presented himself; they answered all our questions. They’re also here- accessible. You’re speaking to people who can give you the information. Some of the organisations we had proposals from were large organisations, so you might not get to the right person- you sort of have to run around.”
During the installation, Baker was impressed that the job was done so quickly with minimal disruption to Lyrebird.
“Considering it was a large project- 300 odd panels here, it was completed very quickly- in a couple of weeks.
“It was also really pleasing to note that there was very little disruption with the installation. There were a lot of people working but honestly, there was no disruption to our operation at all. It all went smoothly.
“I’m really pleased and I think the board are really pleased too – it’s the way forward.”
For more information about solar for business, contact Gippsland Solar on 1300 447 765 or visit http://business.gippslandsolar.com.au