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Tropical sunsets and iconic ice cold beer, thanks to Smart Ease

Nestled deep in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 750 kilometres west of Cairns in tropical Far North Queensland, lies the Sunset Tavern, Karumba. As popular with the locals as it is with backpackers and Australian tourists, the Tavern is famous for its seafood, sunsets views, and ice cold beer. 

Not surprisingly, keeping all that beer ice cold requires some serious refrigeration.

“Our energy bills were routinely in the vicinity of $80,000,” explains Sunset Tavern General Manager, Ben Malady. “The prospect of a solar installation that would enable us to both reduce our environmental impact and cut costs, was really exciting.”

But the impact of COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions on Queensland’s tourism industry, as 2020 unfolded, was immense. So while installing a solar system made perfect sense to Ben, the up-front cost of supply and installation meant the project simply wasn’t feasible without a commercial finance option.

Not to mention the need to design a solar panel configuration that didn’t impede the bird’s-eye view of the Tavern’s iconic ‘ICE COLD BEER’ roof signage, which presented a unique technical challenge for installer, Green Energy Technologies.

Savings to the Tavern since installation was completed in September 2020, have already amounted to a remarkable $50,000. 

Project snapshot

Equipment 

39.96 kilowatt system
111 x 360kW  SolarEdge panels
2 x  15kW SolarEdge inverters 
The system will produce 61,261 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

Energy bill savings in first year: $50k

Payment plan term: 2 years

The project was cash flow positive from day one. 

Channel partner:

Green Energy Technologies

Industry:

Hospitality & Tourism

Location:

Queensland

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It’s enabled a business like ours, that was experiencing a huge amount of uncertainty with regards to cash flow, to afford a significant investment in solar in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The solution

“Discovering Smart Ease was the ‘lightbulb moment’ we needed,” Ben explains, describing how the Tavern’s existing relationship with Green Energy Technologies lead to his introduction to Smart Ease and their accessible payment plans. 

“It’s enabled a business like ours that, like so many others around the country, was experiencing a huge amount of uncertainty with regards to cash flow, to afford a significant investment in solar in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our Smart Ease payment plan has allowed us to simultaneously reduce our overheads and massively impact the Tavern’s sustainability efforts.”

The win

Because the ideal number of roof panels was installed, virtually 100% of the energy generated by the system is being used on site. Plus thanks to their impeccable arrangement, the ‘COLD BEER’ roof signage was preserved! “The application and approval process, especially in the midst of the pandemic with the big banks cracking down on lending, was fast and easy,” Ben says.

“But the greatest win has been financial. The project was cash flow positive from day one. We’re extremely happy.”

And so finally, after a challenging year for all, once the project was complete the Tavern and Green Energy Technologies teams were very content to share an ice cold beer together over the setting tropical sun.

Start a conversation with Smart Ease and find out how our solar commercial finance support enterprise scale solar projects and sustainability goals.