Solar-powered manufacturing business: Solar PV gives rural manufacturing business new lease on life
Located in Thabeban, south-west of Bundaberg’s CBD, Enmach Industries are a family-owned, Australian business that was founded 20 years ago. Today, they have grown into a national retailer of quality engineered poly moulded and steel fabricated equipment, and their range includes grain silos and bins, water tanks, RV and 4WD accessories, irrigation equipment, agricultural and general outdoor products. What Enmach Industries basically do, is reinvent equipment that is usually made of steel. Their poly product versions have several advantages over steel: they are much lighter, have great UV protection ratings, resist rust and incorporate compounded colour that does not fade or scratch off.
Enmach Industries dedicated in-house research and development team is constantly striving to improve their products’ longevity in the harsh Australian climate. Over the years the company’s focus on unbeatable service has translated into a huge success story with hundreds of outlets across Australia as well as an ebay store. Enmach Industries’ varied customer base includes government departments, land owners, and city-dwelling 4WD enthusiasts.
Enmach Industries were facing the harsh reality of steadily rising electricity costs, one of the reasons that makes Australian manufacturing so tough these days. Regional areas such as Bundaberg often suffer even higher electricity bills as they are serviced by Ergon and have less retailer competition and higher network charges.
Apart from the general electricity use in their office and research and development department, Enmach Industries use a lot of power tools and machinery during the manufacturing processes of their poly products. To achieve a significant cost reduction without hampering the quality of the workmanship, materials, and machinery they are renowned for, Enmach Industries’ management team had to come up with a pretty special solution.
When we began consulting with Enmach Industries’ management team, it quickly became apparent that they were ideal candidates for solar. They operate during the day, have a steady consumption profile, as well as a large roof on which to place solar panels on.
In October 2015 we installed a 100 kW solar PV system on one of Enmach Industries’ manufacturing sheds that produces around 39% of their daily electricity consumption and has a payback period of well under four years.
System cost: $156 000 ex GST, financed privately through a bank loan
Electricity cost savings: $40 000+ per annum
ROI: 3.5 years, cash-flow positive from the first quarter
Enmach Industries have been very pleased with the way their solar PV system has worked for them. Except for weekends and public holidays when the solar system is ramped down and covers just the minimum baseline consumption such as fridges, they use close to 100% of the electricity they produce themselves. Their investment was cash flow positive from the first quarter, meaning that the savings from not buying as much electricity from the grid are greater than the repayments for the solar system. Enmach Industries now save over $40 000 per year on electricity, and the payback on their investment is estimated to be just three and a half years. From that point onwards, the business will own the system outright and be able to use the extra cash flow elsewhere.
If Enmach Industries decided that they would like to produce more power to cover even more of their own electricity consumption, they could add more panels to a second building. Adding a commercial battery such as Tesla Powerpack is also an option, for example, if they decided to put on an afternoon shift. All of GEM Energy’s solar installations are readily upgradeable and expandable.
GEM Energy are proud to have assisted this successful, rural Australian manufacturing business on their way to reclaiming their energy independence. Enmach Industries’ compelling need to find a cost-saving, bill-slashing solution steered this innovative company towards solar PV. With solar, Enmach have found an affordable and sustainable way to cushion against further power price rises, as well as to future-proof their operation.
We would like to congratulate Enmach Industries for their foresight and thank them for putting their trust in our company. Since delivering their solar solution, we have developed a business relationship with Enmach and can only say: guys, we love doing business for – and with – you!
Huge thanks also go out to our hard-working installers out in the field for their awesome work on this and many other projects!