SUPER SYSTEM: Massive solar install powers mill
IT GENERATES more electricity than 50 houses and will ensure the longevity of one of our longest-running sawmills.
It may also be visible from space.
Yesterday, the switch was turned on for a massive solar installation at J.Notaras and Sons sawmill in South Grafton, and general manager Donna Layton said with rising electricity prices, it was a logical move.
"We pay around $1100 for electricity per day and our costs have gone up substantially since January 1 when our old energy contract ran out," she said.
"We already work in off-peak times, so the machines start up at 9am and we finish before 5pm, otherwise the costs would be even higher."
The installation comprises 1111 solar panels for 311.08kW of power.
It generates the equivalent electricity of what more than 55 houses use daily, generating 1400kWh of electricity on average each day.
"It won't run our plan, but it will subsidise it. The power is still expensive with the machinery we have," Ms Layton said.
"The price of solar has come down though, and the near half-a-million-dollar investment will be paid back in 3.3years. To keep going into the future we really had to squeeze our electricity costs."
The system was installed through electricity provider ERM Power and Solgen Energy, which used Woolgoolga installer Australian Carbon Solutions, which in turned used a big crew of local electricians to complete the massive construction job.
The directors of the sawmill turned up yesterday with representatives of each of the installer companies to inspect the completed work.
"We've covered basically every part of the roof we could," Ms Layton said.
"It worked out well. It was the right direction, the right pitch, right everything."