THERE has been recent substantial growth in commercial solar installations in Tasmania, with many businesses realising the opportunity to offset their energy costs with on-site solar generation.

Solar is well suited to commercial applications because businesses typically use energy during daylight hours, when the sun is shining. Launceston-based EB Solar has been in the renewable energy industry for over 10 years and has seen many companies come and go during this time. From initially undertaking mainly residential systems, EB Solar now generates the majority of revenue from commercial solar installations around Australia, and has experienced substantial growth in recent years due to this increased demand for commercial solar systems.

EB solar applies a data-driven approach to quantifying solar investment opportunities, using internally-developed modelling software that is constantly evolving to reflect industry changes. EB solar has experienced success when quoting against large mainland solar companies, EB Solar Director Sam Dingemanse said.

“It’s very satisfying to win local projects on merit against much larger mainland-based organisations, thus ensuring that the benefits of the project stay in Tasmania” says Sam. “Our strength is being able to accurately model solar generation against usage patterns and project financial returns to optimise the system design, and then ensure that it is delivered cost effectively using quality components.”

The business is currently installing 780 kW of solar for Tasfresh, a large food distribution and wholesale business with four facilities around the State. Tasfresh experienced a large increase in its electricity contract rates a few years ago, and wanted to invest in solar to reduce their energy costs, which is a major cost for their business.

Given the scale of the investment, they required confidence that the proposed system was reliable, the quoted investment returns were accurate and that EB Solar had the capacity to deliver the project. Tasfresh Managing Director Andrew Frith said it was a big decision to proceed with the new infrastructure.

“In contemplating such a large investment in solar power we were not easy on the number of hurdles we set Sam and his team before we were happy to commit,” Andrew said. “EBSolar cleared every one, and were the only company who we talked to who were able to do so to our satisfaction.”

“Through the actual installation of the solar systems EBSolar have at all times been both professional and user friendly.”

EB Solar is currently installing the final, and largest system (400kW) on Tasfresh’s Moonah facility, with completion expected in a few months. The agricultural sector is another area of demand for EB Solar. “Increased access to water supply and the consolidation of farm holdings means that farmers’ energy costs are rising, due to the need to move more water,” Sam explains.

“We have installed a number of ground-mounted solar arrays for irrigation loads, with the benefit that two thirds of solar generation occurs during the irrigation season.” Sam says the reasons for the company’s recent successes is simple.

“We have the project experience and design capability to compete with the large national solar companies, whilst being able to provide a hands-on, personalised service that only a local company can deliver.”