Solar panels at Werner's Engineering.
Solar panels at Werner's Engineering. Carbon Friendly Enterprises

How this Mackay business cut 50-70% of power bill

ELECTRICITY WAS a fixed cost that was just a part of doing business for Werner's Engineering - that was until Zim Solo walked in.

That was a year and a half ago and now the Paget business that employs about 40 people has cut its power bill by 50-70%.

"It has been a major saving for us, a lot more than anticipated," Werner's general manager Chris Geach said.

The first challenge for Carbon Friendly Enterprises project manger Zim Solo was convincing director Darryl Stark and Mr Geach that his company could do what it was promising.

First CFE monitored the energy usage at Werner's; how it was entering the building and the harmonics of the electricity.

Yes, harmonics, Mr Stark had never heard of that before but it was one of many electricity terms the engineering boffins at CFE dealt with at Werner's.

After a month of tests, the Indigenous-owned Mackay-based business created a feasibility plan for Werner's Engineering with "conservative estimates" on savings.

"They came in and put it in front of us and I was confident it would work," Mr Stark said.

"See we had problems with our (Computer Numerical Controlled) milling machines blowing up but we had no idea it was from how the power was coming in."

Mr Solo said this could have been due to the harmonics, as electricity bounced through the wires at Paget going into some workshops and not going into others, it created ripples in the system.

These ripples disrupt the frequency of the electricity entering the workshop and can short circuit equipment.

Now they have a machine that regulates the frequency of the electricity entering the workshop.

And a lot of it is being generated on the roof with a 63.6 kilowatt solar panel; a 100 kilowatt solar panel is classified as a power station.

Instead, small dinner plate-sized LED lights sit close to the roof, individually changing brightness as required to get the right luminosity in conjunction with natural light.

"The system needs to be engineered to the site and there were systems we modelled that didn't get presented to them," Mr Solo said.

"If it couldn't bring a return within three years it was off the table."

As for Werner Engineering expense to install the system, it received Ergon Energy's cash back incentive for South Mackay businesses and finance secured by CFE.

With immediate returns with the savings from reduced power bills easily servicing the finance agreement.

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