Australian Vaccine Manufacturer Going Solar

Veterinary vaccine manufacturer, MSD Animal Health, has been awarded funding under the Clean Technology Investment Program to install a 250kW solar panel system at its manufacturing facility in Bendigo East, Victoria.

The solar array will slash carbon emissions intensity from the facility by 22 per cent and result in savings of around $44,000 on electricity bills each year. The government’s contribution of $335,660 will be matched by the company.

“Introducing renewable energy through a solar PV system is a great way to cut costs in the manufacturing process,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Yvette D’Ath. “This project will help MSD Animal Health to become more economically and environmentally sustainable into the future, and the Gillard Government is pleased to be able to support it.”

The $800 million Clean Technology Investment Program and the $200 million Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program support manufacturers in making the transition to a low pollution economy. The funding has been sourced through revenue gained through the carbon tax.

Other forms of grants, rebates and assistance are also available to businesses to make the switch to solar and it doesn’t need to involve installing a very large system. For example, small businesses in Australia are able to immediately write off assets to the value of $6,500; including solar panel arrays.

According to commercial solar provider Energy Matters, if a business is paying more than 20c/kWh for daytime electricity usage, a system sized to daytime load will provide a payback time of between 5 and 7 years – after which time, the electricity generated is essentially free. As solar panels have a serviceable life of decades, the return on a good quality, properly installed commercial scale solar power system is substantial.

Energy Matters’ commercial arm has prepared a guide to assist businesses in choosing a solar provider by helping companies discern value-for-money proposals from sales spin.