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Printer slashes power bills with solar panels

Wednesday, 29 November 2017
By Graham Osborne

Let the sunshine in: The roof at WHO Printing, Newcastle, NSW.

Commercial printer WHO Printing has reduced its electricity bills by 50 percent after installing more than 300 solar panels on the roof of its factory at Newcastle, NSW.

“We operate 16 hours a day so power for us is critical,” says WHO co-owner and managing director Daniel Ogle, who runs the business in partnership with his wife, Melanie. “We looked at the financial viability of a solar system and it just made sense.”

(l-r) Brett and Melanie Ogle, co-owners WHO Printing.

A local firm, Solar Australia, was called in to examine the company’s power usage and provide analysis of where savings could be made using a solar system.

“They installed 308 solar panels – capable of producing 80 kilowatts – on the roof of our facility in June 2014, and we also installed LED lighting and power factor correction at the same time,” says Ogle.

“We did so for a financial benefit but also to benefit the environment. The solar we’ve put on means we can get the electricity straight from the sun rather than from a coal-fired power station. So far, we have cut our power bills by about 50 percent.

“We’re a local printing company that manufactures high quality products for people in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and internationally. One of our goals is to have a sustainable business which incorporates aspects of financial sustainability as well as environmental sustainability.”

The solar panels are currently saving the company about $40,000 a year.

Businesses are eligible for a federal renewable energy incentive discount of up to $60,000 on commercial solar installations. A spokesperson for Solar Australia says that while savings vary from business to business, the investment in solar panels will usually pay for itself within 3-5 years: “With improvements in battery storage, firms can also protect themselves from power cuts, saving in lost production time.” 

Ogle is still considering the battery option. “We have maximised the usage of power onsite so we only feed back to the grid on weekends or in the middle of the day, depending on production. We have not as yet gone with battery storage.”

WHO Printing, Newcastle, NSW

WHO Printing is an award-winning, family-owned company established in 1985 that employs more than 20 staff. It offers a full range of offset, digital, wide format, finishing and graphic design work.

The machinery lineup at the company’s purpose-designed commercial print facility at Mayfield West in Newcastle includes a 5 colour A2, 2 colour A3, a celloglazer, perfect binder, saddlebinder, folder, guillotine and die cutter.









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