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Solar powering the perfect pour at Stomping Ground Brewery

Yarra Energy Foundation recently caught up with Guy Greenstone, Co-Founder of Stomping Ground Brewery, to have a chat about their sustainability journey.

We hope that Guy’s experience can help you learn more about making the switch to solar and the potential benefits for your business. Original article published in City of Yarra News.

What size solar system did you install and when?

We installed 357 panels or 96kw of solar back in 2018.

What motivated you to install solar power?

Mostly, we wanted to switch to renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Our second motivation was saving money on expenses.

What steps were involved in deciding on the installer and system size?

We engaged with Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) to help determine which solar provider to go with.

We then evaluated and shortlisted about four providers. We put a tender request out to those groups and assessed the proposals with YEF’s guidance, expertise and know-how.

Cost maintenance and ability to deliver were the main criteria for us.

Have you seen a reduction in your energy bills since installing solar?

Yes we have, although we have increased our usage due to growth in our business.

It’s a bit hard to quantify due to our growth, but we estimate that our current electricity retail costs are about 50% of what they were before we installed solar. And the additional saved money from the solar system has helped fund our growth.

Tell us about the other changes you made to the building to improve sustainability?

We conducted an energy audit which was partially funded by Sustainability Victoria. They offered to provide further funds once we implemented those changes.

We made a raft of changes, such as: heat recovery on our plant and equipment, saving on cold water and using the heat to pre-heat other processes of brewing beer.

We looked at water usage and energy usage within the building and changed things operationally to reduce our energy usage. We also identified “energy leakages” and put in baffles to reduce some of that leaking.

Tell us about how you went about approaching your landlord and any tips for other businesses?

We emailed the landlord and said we’d like their approval, and they were very accommodating.

We had to commit to removal of the solar system if the next tenant didn’t want it, but no real stumbling block. Overall, the landlord was very supportive of our idea.

What advice do you have for businesses thinking about installing solar?

The way it worked for us, we were able to finance it through a company that specialises in financing solar and other equipment, and we were able to fund it over a 7-year term.

This meant that the savings incurred from solar paid for the financing costs. The year 1 savings was about the same as the finance option, then we came out ahead for every year after that from those energy savings.

What other sustainability initiatives have Stomping Ground implemented?

The energy audit that we started with was incredibly helpful in identifying the most significant energy items to see how to reduce their consumption. For example, we were able to time certain equipment to run alongside our solar generation.

Reducing consumption and amending our processes led to more money to reinvest into the business. My advice would be to invest in an energy audit. It will greatly guide you on where you need to make the improvements.

Find out more

For more information about switching your local business to solar you can visit the Business sustainability page on the Yarra City Council website.