Sector: Agriculture

Address: 7 Jurat Rd, Lilydale VIC 3140

Environmental upgrade: 13.2kW solar PV system and battery system

Key drivers: Safeguard the business against power outages and reduce costs

 

 

Problem

When a power outage of even a couple of hours could result in huge stock loss, this nursery wants a backup plan.

Larkman Nurseries, established in 1984, is a propagation nursery that produces about 1.5 million plants every year. Spread across 5 acres, the nursery contains a house, a bed and breakfast, an area to grow stock plants and an area for propagation.  

After a successful install of 24 solar panels 6 years ago, owner Clive Larkman wanted to generate more solar power and install battery storage to support a new state-of-the-art propagation facility. One challenge the nursery faces is the risk of power outages. On a hot day, plants are being watered every 10 minutes; losing power for even a few hours could result in huge stock losses.  

Solution

Clive and his team wanted to create a backup system that would generate and store their own power onsite so they’d be able to keep the facility up and running in the event of a power outage. Plus, a larger system would save the business money and reduce their reliance on the major power companies.  

Larkman Nurseries installed a 13.2kW solar PV system (39 additional solar panels) and the battery system using Environmental Upgrade Finance. This way they could generate and store more of their own solar electricity on site.  

Process

The state-of-the-art propagation facility has fogging, heating, misting and cooling for complete environment control, and is designed to produce around a million units per year. Clive and the team worked with the Sustainable Australia Fund, solar installer iEnergytech (member of the FlowPower Group) and Yarra Ranges Council to arrange financing for the solar panels at the new facility.  

Rather than using cash or approaching a bank for a loan, Clive decided to use Environmental Upgrade Finance as it was simple and easy. Repayments are made through local council rates with no upfront cash or capital required.  

“It was a low interest rate spread over a long period of time, so the payments were low, and we didn’t need to talk to a bank,” said owner Clive Larkman.

Outcome

The system at Larkman Nurseries is expected to save the business $5,177 per year, or a total of $129,425 over the life of the project.  

It will reduce emissions by 509 tCO2-e over the life of the project, which is the equivalent of taking 110 cars off the road. 

But most of all, the new solar system means less risk for the business.  

“It’s security and peace of mind of knowing we’ve got a backup system that will run the nursery,” said Clive Larkman.

Larkman Nurseries

“Good, simple and easy.”

– Clive Larkman, Owner, Larkman Nurseries  

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