Sector: Small business
Address: 2415 Point Nepean Road, Rye, VIC 3941
Environmental upgrade: 88kw solar panel system
Key drivers: Controlling costs
Interaction with SMF: Engaged SMF to finance EUA under a fixed rate arrangement
How do you know what impact an EUA will have on your electricity bills?
Peter Houghton is the owner of Rye Hotel – the first business in the Mornington Peninsula Shire to take out an EUA (Environmental Upgrade Agreement). This loan, facilitated by the Shire and Sustainable Melbourne Fund, enabled Peter to install an 88kw solar panel system on the hotel.
The goal was to control rising power costs. But as no-one else in the Shire had implemented an EUA, how would he know if the return on investment was worth it?
12 months on, we take a look at the outcome.
One year later: Saving 33 trees per month
From the beginning, Peter had no regrets trialling an EUA to finance a solar system. He says, “Get ahead of the game – put some form of infrastructure in where you can determine your own costs in the future without being subjected to costs that are forced upon you by the retailers.”
Now that a year has passed, Peter can confirm there is definitely an immediate benefit. He tracks the hotel’s energy use through a tracking platform and is always pleased to receive his monthly reports. He says each report keeps him informed – not only about how much energy he consumes, but what positive contribution he’s making to the environment. Peter reads out his latest bill: “Your carbon offset for this month was 1.3 tonnes. That’s the equivalent of 33 trees.”
A strong case study for the Mornington Peninsula Shire
Since implementing the EUA, Peter has attracted publicity in the local media. He says, “It’s been great advertising. People are constantly asking me: how much does it save you?”
Peter is quick to respond: “We still pay electricity bills, but it’s the offset that’s of interest to us… what’s taken off the bottom line? Once I explain that we have refrigeration and lighting that needs to be on 24 hours a day, people understand it would be a tall order to cover off all my costs. There’s no way solar panels could service all our electricity needs but having an EUA in place puts a big dent in what would otherwise be a very high cost.”
Reinvesting savings into the business
Peter claims that the long term EUA has resulted in a 25% saving on existing accounts. This enables Peter to use savings to make repayments as well as funnel dollars back into the business.
“My view is that there’s a resource we can all use (renewable energy), but the biggest barrier we have is accessing that resource. We could never have come up with that kind of money to fund solar panels on our own, so we’re very grateful to Sustainable Melbourne Fund for their help and making that happen,” – Peter