Energy Savers
Wide Bay Burnett

Sunshine Coast Nursery

Energy Savings
Nursery and Garden
Wide Bay Burnett
Solar Photovoltaic, Heating

Farm Profile

Calara Cacti & Succulents on the Sunshine Coast produces around 250,000 plants per annum on an 8,000 square meter site, using over 11,000 kWh per annum, with the largest non-residential load being the irrigation system.

Prior to the audit, the nursery had upgraded one of the three pumps which are now irrigating at between 5.8 kWh/ML/m head and 16.8 kWh/ML/m head.


The Energy Audit initially recommended a 13KW Solar PV system to offset the costs of power from the grid, and a more effective heating system for the propagation area although it will use slightly more power, with carbon reductions around 17.1 t CO2-e per annum.

Solution 13kW Roof Mounted Solar PV System Heating: replace heat lamps with heat mats
Energy Savings kWh 18627 -32
Cost Savings $4,757 $-72
Cost to implement $20,000 $950
Payback (years) 4.2


After talks with the auditor and the solar installer the nursery instead opted for a 19.89kW solar system to maximise the available roof space. Taking advantage of Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) the total cost of the system was $14,000. The system is already paying dividends with the nursery manager stating that “our electricity bills have significantly reduced”.

QFF have also installed two real time energy monitors to assist the farm in monitoring their energy consumption and making day to day efficiencies. The monitors cover the main load, pumps, solar system and one submain circuit which operates various power circuits and a set of fans. For this case the monitor will capture the data required from the solar generation and enable specific reporting on the cost savings.

Additional changes onsite to both organisational behaviour and manufacturing processes were implemented by the nursery. Some were quick and easy to achieve and others needing more planning, including:

  • Installing 15 x 150-watt energy efficient fans to reduce fungal disease often seen in plants as a result of high humidity
  • Activating energy saving features of office equipment and installation of timers should be considered. Office energy use can be reduced by 10-20% when energy saving modes are activated.

An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great way for a business to cut costs and boost productivity. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE and subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE. 

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at 


The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.


Farmer Feedback
Our electricity bills have significantly reduced.