Sector:  Funeral services

Address: 184 Greta Rd, Wangaratta VIC 3677

Environmental Upgrade: 40kw Photovoltaic (PV) solar system

Energy savings: $9,800 per annum / $245,400 over the life of the project

Sustainability: Reduction of 40 tCO2-e per annum / 993 tCO2-e over the life of the project

 

Problem

The team at North East Funerals in Wangaratta are no strangers to sustainability. Shortly after their brand-new premises were constructed, Co-Directors Christine and John Haddrick had installed an array of energy-saving initiatives: double glazing, LED lighting, energy efficient heating and cooling – the works.

Their electricity bills, however, remained a challenge.

According to John, the Haddricks had been thinking of switching to solar power for years, in the hopes it would cut back their electricity costs. Unfortunately, solar systems are expensive, and the project was considered beyond their budget.

That is, until they discovered our Solar Fund.

 

Solution

Just like their switch to solar energy, the Haddricks had been considering working with Sustainable Australia Fund for quite some time.

“I attended a business networking evening hosted by Business Wangaratta,” John said. “A speaker from the Sustainable Australia Fund outlined the scheme and how it could benefit business.”

At the time, the Haddricks were busy overseeing the construction of their business’ new premises. But once they were settled, it was the perfect opportunity to make their solar power dreams come true – and the Haddricks knew exactly who they wanted to speak to.

 

Process

The Haddricks worked with Kennedy Solar & Electrical to have a 40kw Photovoltaic (PV) solar system installed on the premises. They chose to access our Solar Fund, which was enabled by Rural City of Wangaratta Council.

As part of the process, the Haddricks were able to commission a solar system that was appropriate for their real energy requirements – and without being constrained by their budget.

Accessing our finance in this way also meant they could work with the trusted solar installer of their choice, keeping the funds within their own community.

Councillor Dean Rees – Mayor of Wangaratta – emphasised the benefits of the fund not only for North East Funerals, but for the greater community.

“This finance helps local businesses to not only lower their greenhouse gas emissions, but also reduce their annual energy bill,” he said. “And in the current climate, it’s critical for businesses to be able to reduce costs where they can. It also means our local businesses can keep money in the community.”

For the Haddricks, accessing finance from Sustainable Australia Fund was an easy process.

“The Sustainable Australia Fund provided the capital to fit our solar system without it impacting significantly on our cashflow,” John said.

In fact, the entire operation turned out to be a cashflow positive investment.

“The electricity savings turned out to be worth more than the cost of repayments. So, it was certainly a winning combination – financially and environmentally.”

 

Outcome

North East Funerals are still in the early stages of using their solar system. But after putting it to the test, it’s already cemented itself as a priceless investment for their business.

“This project assists our carbon emissions considerably,” John said. “We recently received our first electricity account detailing that we had exported more energy to the grid than we used. The financial savings are considerable, and we expect the system to have paid for itself within four years.”

Cam, an installer from Kennedy Solar & Electrical, said North East Funerals is projected to save over $9,800 in its first year of being powered by solar energy, and an estimated $245,400 or more over the life of the project. It’s also expected to reduce the business’ emissions by 40 tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking eight cars off the road – and a whopping 993 tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project – saving 120 homes’ worth of annual energy use.

“North East Funerals will see a significant reduction in the electricity they’re using from the grid, which will help bring down their running costs,” he said.

But the Haddricks haven’t stopped there; to further reduce Wangaratta’s carbon footprint, they’ve also signed up to a community energy provider. Their unused exported energy gets funnelled back into the grid, giving the city’s locals better access to clean, green power.

“It’s very satisfying to know we’re helping to provide clean energy locally in our community,” John said.

Are you a business looking to cut back on your power bills and make the switch to solar energy? If so, John has these words of wisdom:

“Just do it. The benefits are enormous, both financially and environmentally.”

North East Funerals

“The electricity savings turned out to be worth more than the cost of repayments. So, it was certainly a winning combination – financially and environmentally.”

– Christine and John Haddrick, Co-Directors of North East Funerals

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