DM Civil goes solar
With the ever increasing cost and consumption of power, the Board of Management looked into what might be done at its Maddington premises to reduce our environmental footprint.
The combined workshop, fabrication shop and office consumed around 123,000 kW hours of power last year at much higher tariffs than domestic rates. That usage is the equivalent of about 20 average households.
We’ve also seen in the last 7 years the combined power use and power cost increase by 37% over that period.
The Board of Management decided to tackle this as a two stage strategy:
- Install a total of 181 solar panels (270 Watts each), 147 panels on the office roof connected to two 15 kW inverters and 34 panels on the fabrication shop roof connected to a 7 kW inverter;
- Replace the existing, power hungry, hi-bay and florescent overhead lights, with high efficiency and long lasting LED lights in both the workshop and the fabrication shop.
It’s anticipated that the solar panels will generate an approximate average of 200 kW hours per working day, or 48,000 kW hours per year. That’s roughly the equivalent to 40% of DM Civil’s power consumption in a year.
At today’s power cost it’ll mean that the solar systems will pay for itself in less than 5 years, however, if we allow for similar increases in the cost of power that we’ve witnessed over the last 5 years, this repayment period is more likely to be about 4 years.
The light conversion provides a 10% reduction of power use, approximately 12,000 kW hours per year. This means that the cost of replacing the lights will be recouped within 3 years, at today’s power costs.
We expect that these two strategies combined will see DM Civil’s power usage from the grid halved immediately.
It’s extremely early to gauge the overall success, but so far, we can report that for the month of March, since the system was installed, we’ve had 25 consecutive days of data that show the panels have been delivering on its estimated average of 200 kW hours per day, so all systems are functioning as expected.
DM Civil is glad to have taken this positive step towards offsetting our carbon footprint and hopes it’ll give Mother Nature a small helping hand.