Solar for business experts
AUSTRALIAN businesses feeling the pinch from electricity price increases and energy policy uncertainty are developing their own solutions to deal with soaring power costs.
Bruce Castleton, an energy consultant who works with businesses on the Coffs Coast and throughout NSW for SmartConsult, said lowering power costs was the common objective of his company.
SmartConsult was established by principal consultant Luke Hardy and provides a range of energy consulting services and specialises in energy assessments, retail and network tariff reconfigurations, as well as the project management of commercial and industrial solar installations.
Bruce, who is completing a master's degree in renewable and sustainable energy and resides in Bellingen, said that typically businesses did not have the time nor the expertise to tackle the problem themselves.
"That is exactly why they should engage consultants like myself to solve the problem for their business and to get them the best return on investment for their energy spend," Bruce said.
"With network charges alone comprising about 40per cent of electricity bills, up to 30per cent of businesses are found to be on the incorrect network tariff.
"If left unchecked, this can cost them thousands of dollars every year.
"Not only are thousands of businesses paying too much for their power, but they will never own anything for their spend either."
Bruce said that with the surge of industrial solar uptake by Australian businesses expected to increase threefold by next year in response to enormous drops in equipment costs coupled with the highest national electricity costs per capita in the developed world, it was now cheaper for most businesses to invest in their own power production and see an immediate return than it was to stay in their current situation.
"The simple truth is, businesses are realising that if they aren't reinvesting their power spend on themselves by employing an energy strategy designed to get them a return and start saving them money, then they're committed to donating their power spend to the gold-plated network and retailers year after year for no return, which is designed to cost them money," he said.