CBH Group is set to invest $1.1 million in solar energy, commissioning Energy Made Clean to engineer and build power stations at three of its facilities across the state.
The agribusiness group will own and operate the grid-connected solar stations at its Bibra Lake workshop (80 kilowatts), Geraldton port facility (150kW) and Forrestfield metro grain terminal (150kW).
As part of the contract, EMC will also build a 50 vehicle carport at Geraldton, on which the solar panels will be mounted.
EMC chief executive John Davidson told Business News the deal was likely to be the biggest investment in solar generation on a business site in Western Australia without a grant or subsidy.
“Clearly solar has now arrived at a point where it can be competitive with the grid,” Mr Davidson said.
“These projects are banking themselves insomuch as the return on capital falls well within the normal investment strategy for any sort of company without government support.”
Engineering and procurement for the three solar stations has begun, with construction due to be completed by November.
CBH category manager Ross Engel said CBH initially considered installing solar because of rising energy bills and its output seemed well suited to CBH’s peak daytime and summer periods.
After asking four companies to tender and two to a trial, it tested several types of technology to determine a business case.
The business is now considering whether it would also be economically viable to install further solar at some of its nearly 200 sites across WA.
“That would be our intention if the numbers stack up,” Mr Engel said.