Alpine’s award winning nursery at Alstonville has just installed solar panels and converted a large portion of its power use to solar generated power.

The initial work required us to do the cost-benefit analysis, working out in detail, when our power was being used and which equipment was drawing the power. This was a difficult exercise and needed to take account of the variations in tariffs for off-peak and normal load power.

The feasibility was established just referring to power used in peak periods. We decided at this stage not to proceed with power storing options that might have enabled us to use stored power for use during off-peak periods. Alstonville Nursery Manager, Bruce Wilson is now looking at ways in which we can bring forward irrigation to peak periods so we can further benefit from using our own sun-powered electricity, rather than take power from the grid. Speaking of the grid we will also contribute excess power back to the grid, further enhancing the viability of the project.

Solar panels are now located on 3 of our potting sheds and the system is quietly working to save power, money and make us more efficient.