A fruit grower in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley has cut its grid power consumption by one-third, and its annual electricity costs by a whopping $62,000 a year, after installing 200kW of solar across the rooftops of its storage sheds.
The two 100kW solar PV systems have been installed at the Central Park Orchards and Mountain Valley Produce Centre of the Rachele Group – a third generation pear and stone fruit farming family business.
The Rachele family turned to solar to manage the farm’s energy costs, which they said had been increasing steadily over five years.
The 300 acre farming operation, near Shepparton, has been growing, packing and transporting pears, nectarines, plums and peaches to supermarket shelves for more than 50 years, but co-owner Matthew Rachele said the time had come to take action on “out of control” power costs.
“We pick our fruit and then we have to pull it down to zero degrees immediately,” he said. “This refrigeration takes a lot of energy, it’s the most energy intensive part of our operations.
“The last couple of years in particular, our energy costs were out of control. We knew we needed to be more efficient. If we weren’t being efficient we were going backwards.”