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Mornington Island slashes power bills with solar array

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Mornington Island’s only non-for-profit supermarket has partnered with Infinity power to reduce their energy bills by almost $25,000.

Gununamanda Limited, which runs the supermarket, a general goods store and a café, is an aboriginal non-for-profit company located in the Gulf of Carpentera that currently spends almost $100,000 on power bills every year.

Infinity power was chosen to install a 33 kW solar power system, more than 300 LED lights and two solar hot water systems.

According to Gununamanda Limited’s manager, Vicki Waring, the business could no longer sustain the costs involved in grid-supplied electricity.

“Not only were our power bills becoming unmanageable, we were also looking at having to spend a significant amount to expand our access to the grid,” Ms Waring said.

According to Waring the company’s non-for-profit structure meant that it had to focus on keeping costs down.

“The business is run by the community, for the community and we are quite remote, so the aim is to provide food and essential items at the lowest price possible”.

“Our freight bill was approaching $1 million a year, we needed to make cuts in other areas of the business. Becoming more energy efficient really helped us make huge savings,” she said.

After investigating a number of other solar providers in the area, Gununamanda chose Infinity Power for the job.

Infinity Power local store manager Andrew Haddow said the project showed how solar power, LED lighting and solar hot water could all work together to provide a significant reduction in power bills.

Andrew Haddow, Infinity Power’s local store manager, said, “installing 132 Hanwha Q CELLS solar panels and three PowerOne Aurora inverters will see Gununamanda Limited reduce electricity consumption by more than 70,000 kWh a year and save up to 20 per cent off the business’s power bills”.

Furthermore, with the company replacing all fluorescent bulbs with LED lights, to save around “18,000 kWh every year, … a further saving of up to 10 per cent off electricity bills”, Haddow said.

As well as the install, Infinity Power advised Gununamanda Limited to apply for the Ergon Energy powersavvy rebate, which aims to reduce electricity consumption, diesel usage and overall cost of electricity supply in Queensland’s isolated communities serviced by Ergon Energy’s diesel-fuelled power stations.

“Infinity Power assisted us in applying for the powersavvy program, which saw the business receive generous rebates including $35 for each light replaced by LEDs, almost $2,000 to replace each electric hot water system with solar hot water and $1,000 for each kW of solar power installed,” Ms Waring said.

“The process to be considered for rebates is quite rigorous, but Infinity Power took on a lot of the administrative responsibilities and liaised with Ergon, which was invaluable as the store operates with very limited employee resources.

“Ultimately, installing such a comprehensive solar power system has meant we no longer rely solely on the power grid, which is hugely beneficial for us as a remote community, helping cut costs and future  

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