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LOAVES MADE WITH SUNSHINE: Catherine Wray with staff member Alana Demetriou.
LOAVES MADE WITH SUNSHINE: Catherine Wray with staff member Alana Demetriou. Alan Lander

WHEN your business's power bills amount to $4000 a month, it's time to take action.

And that's exactly what Richie's Bakery at Tewantin did.

Bakery operator Catherine Wray said "the time had come” to find a solution, and now there are 56 solar panels on the roof of the bakery building, pumping natural power straight from the sun into the business.

"We use a lot of power with the ovens,” Ms Wray said.

"Our power bills cost $4000 a month.

"This should cut that in half.”

Ms Wray said the solar input would cover all the daytime operational costs such as the ovens, cool room, coffee machine and pie ovens, achieving 50% of overall use.

And the Tewantin shop does all the bread-making for its sister shop in Cooroy.

The idea was sparked when business owner Richie Savory put solar panels on one of his houses, Ms Wray said.

"We got talking abut power bills, and decided to see what we could find out, such as looking at roof space,” she said.

"We got the price of $17,000, which was not really that much, as it would pay off in a couple of years.”

Ms Wray said Celtic Solar installed the panel system.

But thought and planning was required when considering solar use with tenants, Ms Wray said.

But she part-owns the neighbouring shop premises in a consortium, so installing the solar system made business sense, and would provide a further asset if sold. And importantly, the solar panels also contributed with environmental benefits, she said.

"We're always looking at ways to keep up with the times,” Ms Wray said.

"And the time is now.”

Ms Wray said electricity prices had now become a major issue for business operators. "There are so many stories of businesses closing down simply because of their power bills these days,” she said.

Richie's Bakery in Tewantin was established in 1996.

"We celebrated our 21st birthday in January,” Ms Wray said.

Topics:  power bills solar electricity tewantin


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