The power of the sun will be the best way for Yackandandah FoodWorks to refrigerate its products, thanks to 302 new solar panels on the roof.
The supermarket used a Victorian government grant to fund the project, which will generate 80 kilowatts of solar energy – enough to cater for about 25 per cent of its total electricity use.
It is the latest move in Yackandandah’s goal to have the town become totally reliant on renewable energy by 2022.
Store owner Nick Cook said the solar panels made “great business sense” at a time he was carefully watching the levels of energy consumption.
“We’ll certainly see benefits off our next power bill,” he said.
“It’s a passion of ours to try to be sustainable.”
The solar panels took about three weeks to install and were officially switched on Friday.
“We’ve had the idea for a long time, but it’s been cost prohibitive until the last 12 to 24 months,” Mr Cook said.
“We decided we’d give it a go, it is a leap of faith.”
Mr Cook said refrigeration used a lot of energy, to keep perishable foods chilled, so the supermarket would prioritise that at a time when the solar panels were at their most effective.
He said feedback from customers had been positive because the Totally Renewable Yackandandah group was already a big influence.
“They really support the town and they’re really into driving the town forward,” he said.
If the Yackandandah solar panels were successful, Mr Cook would consider installing them at his other three stores in Myrtleford, Mount Beauty and Falls Creek.
His next goal was looking into the use of plastic bags.
TRY president Matthew Charles-Jones said he was thrilled FoodWorks had taken the step towards affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy.
“It is further evidence that an energy transformation is well underway, both within Yackandandah and around the world,” he said.
“This supermarket installation joins an inspiring and expanding list of homes and organisations switching to solar in our community.”
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