“I’ve know Brian for years. He’s a bloke you can trust. When he says he will do something you can take him on his word.”
Tony Jones, Rossies
Rossies Foodworks is ranked in the Top 10 Foodworks supermarkets nationally and number 1 in NSW. It’s been a successful family business for over 50 years. When Tony and Joyce Jones took over the supermarket from Joyce’s father they were spending $1000 a week on running the air-conditioning alone.
The business used a lot of electricity as it also had to run lighting, commercial refrigeration, cool rooms, hot water and the point of sale and back office systems 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Although the electricity costs in the business were massive Tony only really seriously considered solar after researching it for the family home. “I actually started looking into it for home. I did a lot of research so I was very comfortable with the power of solar,” he explained. “The big government rebates had just been wound back so I assumed the potential benefits wouldn’t be as great but I actually found the lower rebates had reduced the cost of the hardware. And with the roll back of the carbon tax the potential savings were also accentuated.”
With the help of Solar mad, Tony and Joyce installed a 100kw system on the roof of the iconic supermarket at the top end of Banna Avenue in Griffith in February 2014. And the impact was immediate. Rossies electricity bill in January 2014, typically the most demanding month, was almost $20,000. In January 2015 it was just $8000. Tony explains that they replaced the old fluorescent lights with energy efficient LED lights throughout the store in conjunction with the move to solar which has also added to the savings.
“The benefits have been immediate and significant. We calculate we have saved almost $40,000 on our energy bills in the first year,” says Tony. “On our best day, the system generated 700 kilowatts of power and, on average, the cost of electricity has dropped from 2300 kilowatts to around 1600 kilowatts per day.”
“Also, the Foodworks ideology is all about keeping things local and supporting local communities so we never even considered using someone that wasn’t from the local region. I think that’s very important. Solar Mad have been extremely professional in every aspect of the planning , implementation and follow up service. I’d recommend them without hesitation to any other operator of retail or commercial space. It’s been a rewarding experience for us and the investment will continue to pay dividends for years into the future”.
“We do most of our work during daylight hours so solar really suits a business like ours. Solar Mad collaborated with us to design the very best system with a clear ROI in mind.”
Chris Miller - Collier & Miller
Solar Mad has now completed three components of a sophisticated solar solution for Collier & Miller. We've worked closely with the Collier & Miller team to analyse their energy consumption and design a system that would give them a maximum ROI. In 2018 we designed and installed a 29kW system for their workshop and a 72.0kW system for their retail store. The systems were designed to specifically save on the cost associated with running their welding, manufacturing and retail businesses. The system was installed with industry-leading, top quality Suntech panels and has already started to save them significant money on their electricity bills.
Retail Store – 72kw System
Consumption for April 2017 (pre-solar) – 14,494 kwh
Consumption for April 2018 (post solar) – 4,465 kwh
Welding & Manufacturing Site – 29kw system
Consumption for April 2017 (pre-solar) – 18,301 kwh
Consumption for April 2018 (post solar) – 16,892 kwh *
NOTE: 300 sqm operating space added to this department during that year.
“We couldn’t be much happier with the impact solar energy has had on our business and in our own homes - we're extremely glad we made the move to solar.”
John Bertoldo - Bertoldo's Bakery
Nothing personifies Griffith's Italian heritage quite like Bertoldo’s. Established in 1952 by Bruno Bertoldo, this fourth generation family bakery continues to serve quality products to the local community. The Italian patisserie and panetteria trades from two locations, the flagship store at 324 Banna Avenue and a second, newer location at the lower end of the main street. Concern about electricity bills mounted for Bertlodo’s a few years back as the cost associated with operating a significant number of machines and appliances including energy-hungry European ovens, lighting, cooling, cold storage, refrigeration, blast freezers and coffee machines, continued to soar.
“Our energy costs were getting out of control and eating into our margin significantly,” explains co-owner John Bertoldo. “As a growing business we had to look at other options – we needed to contain our spending on electricity.”
Along with his brother, Stephen, the Bertoldo’s educated themselves on the benefits of solar, the capacity of their premises and the most appropriate solutions before making the decision to invest.
“We made numerous calculations and looked at various panels to ensure we could get maximum output from the roof space we had available to us,” explains John. Opting for a local business with an established track record, relevant experience and an excellent reputation among other local business, the bakery owners enlisted Solar Mad to help create a more energy-efficient future for their business.
“I received calls from Sydney, Melbourne even overseas about solar installation and special deals but we opted to go with a local business who had a good record and seemed very knowledgeable and trustworthy. A few other business owners in town that we knew quite well had used Solar Mad and they spoke very positively about them,” says John.
Solar Mad were able to provide a customised solution to suit their specific needs. The project saw a 70kw system installed on the main bakery roof using 300kw LG panels, the most powerful on the market at the time, to achieve maximum efficiency from the small roof space. A year later Solar Mad completed a second installation on the second Bertoldo store, this time using newly released 330kw LG panels. This resulted in a significant reduction in their overall energy use, with the two systems covering almost all the energy requirements at both stores.
Before solar was installed the electricity bill for the main store was $12 000 per month and has since been reduced to around $3600.
“It took a little education. We needed to understand and plan for our main load times and the way we run our business, especially around opening and closing times,” explains John. “Our electrician helped us monitor our use and develop a plan that eliminates spikes in our energy use.”
After monitoring the system for a year, the savings were evident and the true effect of their investment became obvious. Due to the considerable savings and the impact on productivity, the Bertoldo brothers have since installed significant systems on their residential properties as well.
"We knew solar would work well for our business and it is already proving to be a success".
Corrine - Kookora Surgery Griffith
Kookora Surgery is one of Griffith’s oldest and busiest medical practices. Since 1984 they have treated thousands of locals with staff on site from before 8am until after 6pm each weekday and again until lunchtime on Saturday. The premises covers a large footprint and includes a reception area, waiting rooms, administration offices and over a dozen treatments rooms.
A dynamic business that operates predominantly during daylight hours is the perfect candidate for a power transfusion!
A few years ago we were streamlining various aspects of our business and upgrading the building and saw an opportunity to make in an investment in solar,” explains Operations Manager, Corinne Webb.
“Based on our research, we knew the pay back would take a few years but after the breakeven point, we’d have negligible energy costs for the lifetime of the panels.
Corinne explained that they initially turned to their energy provider at the time for advice, but they weren’t up to the task.
“It was all too complicated for them because they had a lot of rules around provenance of the building and other terms so we asked our electrician what he would do and he suggested we speak to a local solar expect which is when we called Solar Mad.”
Solar Mad installed a 29.4 Kw system consisting of 89 Suntech 330w PV panels complimented by a 25kW Tri-Power inverter from SMA.
Corinne explained that the installation went extremely well and the transition to solar was completely seamless.
“We couldn’t shut down power to the building because we had vaccine fridges and other critical infrastructure so the team at Solar Mad had to ensure the switch was simultaneous and worked with everyone to make that happen,” explained Corrinne.
“We knew solar would work well for our business and it is already proving to be a success. We have halved our energy costs and are now investigating a solar battery that will ensure we use all the solar power captured during the day and ensure continuity of our vaccine fridges in the event of a blackout.”
“We are very pleased that we decided to investigate a local option to help us move to solar because the team at Solar Mad have been extremely professional at every turn.”