SUSTAINABLE, cost effective and self sufficient.
Churchill Abattoir's new one megawatt capacity solar farm is certainly all those things.
The switch was officially switched on the new solar farm yesterday by Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles.
Churchill Abattoir managing director Barry Moule said it was "a win for the environment and a win for us in terms of the cost of running a business" with the solar farm set to power about 30% of the business's energy needs.
Mr Moule said installing the project took about six months and cost $3.5 million, with five acres of the site dedicated to 2500 solar panels.
He said the solar farm's one megawatt a day capacity made it one of the largest private solar farms in south-east Queensland.
"This is a commercial operation for us," he said.
"At our peak during the middle of the day is when we pay the most for electricity, and that is when this kicks in. It means our average price comes down, per kilowatt. This will save us money and it is sustainable."
"There are two sides to this.
"It is not all about us trying to make money. It is about saving money because the cost of electricity is getting higher.
"We haven't done it purely to contribute to the environment, but the outcome we have got here is effectively an advantage to the environment.
"We have an operation that brings organic material in and send organic material out. The only thing we do use externally is electricity and a small amount of coal.
"This plant means we are 30% less dependent on outside electricity, which is a good result for us, and it is a renewable resource."
The direct current (DC) cabling comes from the array of solar panels and is broken down by 12 inverters and turned it into alternating current (AC) which can be utilised in the plant. Mr Moule said the abattoir had been using the solar energy intermittently in recent days as the system was tested.
"We will go 100% live towards the end of the week, if not Monday next week," he said.
The Palaszczuk Government is committed to transitioning to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and Dr Miles said projects like Churchill Abattoir's "contribute to our renewable targets and lessen our carbon footprint".
Cr Pisasale, who launched the city's sustainability strategy yesterday, said the initiative was "fantastic".
"I'm encouraging other businesses to follow suit," he said. "This is what true sustainability is all about - taking steps to protect and enhance our environment while supporting positive growth for Ipswich."
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