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Reduce energy costs and save

Growers interested in upgrading their old equipment with new, energy efficient technologies may be interested in speaking with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The CEFC have developed an asset financing program to support small and large scale projects. They have begun to partner with private sector businesses, such as large commercial banks, to facilitate and provide funds for energy efficiency, low emissions and renewable technology related programs in Australia.

APAL Industry Services Manager Annie Farrow said the opportunities from the program should prompt growers to better understand their energy costs and seek ways to reduce them.

“Research conducted as part of APAL’s ‘Watts in Your Business’ project, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, found that on average, apple and pear businesses can save $16,300 per year from cost effective upgrades with a payback period of six years or less. With interest rates at record lows, businesses may wish to examine how the lessons learned from the ‘Watts in Your Business’ project could be applied to their circumstances to cut energy bills.”

There are a couple of options to consider in regards to the types of finance available.

Energy Efficiency Equipment Bonus
In July the CEFC teamed with the National Australia Bank (NAB) to provide $120 million of finance that supports energy projects of up to $5 million per business.

The CEFC-NAB program will finance a broad range of activities, including higher fuel efficiency vehicles, variable speed pumps for irrigation, upgrades to refrigeration and solar infrastructure. The program is available across a broad commercial base with a particular emphasis on agribusiness and regional Australia.

Energy Efficient Loans

CEFC also works with the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) to co-finance energy-efficiency, low emissions and small-scale renewable projects to help businesses reduce energy costs. The Energy Efficient Loan can be used to finance up to 100 per cent of the asset purchase price, allowing borrowers to preserve working capital for other purposes, and loan terms can be aligned to the effective life of the equipment.

Loans will typically range between $500,000 and $5 million under this $100 million project. The loans can be used across a wide array of energy savings technologies, including energy efficient lighting, industrial refrigeration, energy efficient motors, pumps and fans, solar systems and battery storage and variable speed drives.

Peter Radevski, from Radevski Coolstores and recipient of APAL’s 2015 National Awards for Excellence Environmental Award, has utilised the Energy Efficient Loan finance through the CBA and CEFC twice. “Through this program Peter has been able to access $1.15 million towards the refrigeration upgrade and $4.2 million for a new fruit grader and solar PV installations,” Annie said.

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