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Key outcomes

  • 30% load reduction
  • Payback of 4-5 years (ahead of our predictions)
  • Cash-flow positive from the first quarter

Privately owned Austchilli is a leader in the food manufacturing industry and the largest chilli company in Australia. Founded in 1995 and based in Bundaberg in regional Queensland, the vertically integrated farming agribusiness uses sustainable farming practices with products supplied to multi-national companies and the Australian market.

Business Problem  

All across Australia, rising energy prices, along with increasing peak demand charges, are threatening the financial viability of businesses like Austchilli. Peak demand charges add a substantial amount of money to commercial power bills as a flat rate that is based on the maximum amount of energy drawn from the grid at any time during the billing cycle.

As an organisation that prides itself on following sustainability best practice, Austchilli had to weigh their options regarding not only economics, but also in terms of their business values and their role in providing community leadership and valuable regional employment.

The Solution  

  • 300kW Solar PV

Austchilli's management team realised several years ago that energy costs were only going to go up, and that Solar PV was providing free electricity for both homes and organisations in Australia and around the world right now. After a few years of research into commercial Solar, Austchilli approached GEM Energy in 2014, with the 300kW system installed in two stages in 2016.

Solar PV is an excellent match for Australian businesses that operate during the day and have large buildings and sheds on which to place panels on. The panels at Austchilli are facing in different directions to capture the largest possible amount of sunshine during the day, which reduces the amount of electricity drawn from the grid – by 30% in Austchilli's case. The strategic placement of panels also leads to a substantial reduction in peak demand charges, saving the business even more money on bills.

The 500K project was funded through a bank loan and was cash-flow positive from the first quarter, with the payback period estimated to be 4-5 years, which is just ahead of initial projections.

Austchilli's management and owner are very happy with their investment and have become valuable advocates not just for GEM Energy, but also for the Renewable Energy industry in general.



"I just wanted  to congratulate you and the team on the installation of our 100Kw system this year. As you know I had researched and discussed this implementation for 2 years prior to meeting you and your team and I can say your professionalism and pricing were competitive with those who profess to be long term players in the industry. I was not expecting this and was pleasantly surprised. Then we came to the installation and again the owner who is very particular about work done on his site made a point of coming to me, dragging me into the factory and showing me the beautiful quality of the cabling and installation work. Then when we had a faulty piece of equipment it was sourced and supplied in 48 hours which is a major miracle in regional Queensland so this responsiveness to any issues was again impressive. I can only say Jack that dealing with you guys has been a pleasure."

Ian Gaffel
General Manager, Austchilli
Austchilli-Bundaberg-Installation.JPG  Austchilli-Bundaberg-Installation-in-Action.JPG


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