Brookfarm’s bakehouse – muesli making powered by the sun
Award winning artisan food manufacturer Brookfarm has installed 288 solar panels on the bake-house roof in Byron Bay, naturally powering the production factory, offices and cool rooms.
The installation is the largest of its kind in the Northern Rivers, and is part of the company’s goal of dramatically cutting its carbon footprint.
Brookfarm operations manager Will Brook estimates at least a 40% annual energy saving, and the system will have paid for itself within four years. At present the solar panels produce enough energy to power 25 homes using 25kW hours of electricity a day.
Will Brook commented “Since installation the system has been producing around 500 kilowatts a day and this will increase as the days get longer to peak on December 21. On average we require around 610 kilowatts of energy per day, however on sunny days the solar panels produce enough energy for us to be completely independent of the grid.”
Brookfarm partnered with Juno Energy to oversee the installation and to purchase 1,952 Small Scale Technology Certificates, which it later traded for $71,248 to part-fund the total cost of the installation at $233,000.
The Sunpower E20/327 solar panels are accepted as the world’s most efficient panel, and are angled to make the most of both the morning and afternoon sun. Even on an overcast day, the panels are estimated to contribute to 40% of the factory’s energy requirements.
Brookfarm is currently a bronze partner of the New South Wales State Government’s Sustainability Advantage program. To date Brookfarm has planted more than 30,000 sub-tropical rainforest and Eucalypt trees on the property. Brookfarm also employs biological crop maintenance systems such as the annual release of 40,000 Trichogramma wasps to subdue and defeat the damaging Macadamia Nut Borer.
The Brookfarm factory was built five years ago with a roof capture system to collect rainwater that in turn waters the trees surrounding the bakehouse. The roof was also designed to support solar panels. Will Brook commented “We originally designed the roof to support solar panels and we have been waiting for the technology to catch up, so today it is now a commercially viable option to solar power our production facility.” The building was also designed to include cool room paneling in the walls, which externally insulates the building and internally reflects white light to minimise internal lighting needs.
For further information visit www.brookfarm.com.au