Sustainable Living Armidale Youth Awards
We are looking for ideas from young people promoting awareness about climate change, we are calling it SLAya and there are prizes to be won!!
Armidale Vegetable Sowing Guide
This guide shows planting time periods that should allow you to get a crop in Armidale.

Climate Matters: Reaping the benefits of installing solar panels

Hi, I’m Craig Ritchie, owner of New England Travel in Armidale. We recently had a 9.36 kW solar pv system installed on the business and since then have seen a significant reduction in electricity costs.

Getting solar was an economic no-brainer for me. Because our business only operates during the day we can utilise the solar as it is being produced. We have a large roof space and, with the current instant asset tax write-off program for small businesses, I calculated it was only going to take 3 years to pay it off. It also made the building more attractive as a value proposition if we ever decide to sell the building or lease it to another business.

On a comparison of electricity invoices, New England Travel has saved 76% compared to the previous summer bill, which was a saving of $1200 for that quarter. I’m expecting to save at least $3000 a year, and there’s a nice feeling of doing something for the environment. In that one bill we saved 3.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas, the equivalent of what 100 trees would sequester over 10 years.

I really encourage any business that operates in a building during the day to install solar, and to make use of the tax-write off program for small businesses while it’s still available for a purchase like this. Our 9.36kW system originally cost $15,000 but through this tax incentive it only cost $9,000 in real terms.

I also encourage landlords, both of residential and business buildings, to install solar panels, because the investment can be paid back in rent. Both renters and landlords can share the spoils for decades to come.

I decided to engage the Farming the Sun solar bulk-buy project because it was important to me to use high quality equipment and trusted installers from within this region and to support a local community-run project.

New England Travel’s experience with the Farming the Sun solar bulk-buy project was a very happy one. The bulk-buy has exceeded its target of 1 MW of installations in the New England North West region and is now aiming to install a further 1 MW of solar in this region.

By Craig Ritchie, New England Travel

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