Our solar panel display, located in the entrance foyer, monitors black energy use, green energy production, cost savings, real-time energy production and energy offset.

Solar panels save energy and cut costs in Australia Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ Equipment Processing Centre (EPC) outside Melbourne has utilised the power of one of its most abundant natural resources – sunlight – to develop a solution that has not only reduced the environmental impact of the facility, but also cut its costs.

The team at WWL’s Laverton EPC has reduced the facility’s energy consumption by installing an 18-kilowatt solar panel system that can supply up to 33 percent of its electricity needs. The idea was one of five winners of the Castor Green Challenge – a competition that gave WWL’s employees around the world the opportunity to develop their best ideas for a zero-emission future.

“By harnessing solar energy from the roof of our workshop, we’ve been able to cut our dependency on conventional energy sources and reduce our impact on the environment,” says Andrew Robinson, National Operations Manager, based at the Laverton EPC. “For our customers, this means long-term savings and a more sustainable supply chain.”

The system has been in use for just over a year. During that time, it has generated approximately 30 megawatt hours of energy. 

“The solar panels are already delivering. That’s proof of our ingenuity, our teamwork and our commitment to execution. For WWL, being an environmental forerunner is more than a promise, it’s the way that we work and we deliver – day in, day out,” says Region Oceania’s Head of Commercial, Mark Guscott.

According to Robinson, harnessing renewable energy is just one of the opportunities the Laverton team, with its long-standing sustainability mindset, has embraced. Since 2008, an initiative has also been in place to capture and recycle water for use throughout the entire facility.

“From the bathrooms and the break rooms to the wash bays where we put the finishing touches to our dealer-bound products, we have a sustainable solution that’s delivering for both our customers and our unique eco-system. There’s no place like Australia when it comes to nature and we want to do everything we can to be good stewards,” explains Gavin Ross, Paint Shop Team Leader.

“After examining various options, the Laverton team decided that a solar panel installation was our best opportunity to make a significant difference to the environment, while also reflecting the Castor Green concept,” says Robinson.

“Our solar panel display, located in the entrance foyer, monitors black energy use, green energy production, cost savings, real-time energy production and energy offset. We’re always proud to show it to visiting customers to demonstrate WWL’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”

About the Castor Green Competition
In 2011, WWL invited its employees to put forward their ideas to help the company realise its zero-emission vision for the future, as exemplified by the Castor Green Terminal. From the 116 ideas that were submitted by 250 WWL employees at nine sites around the world, five winners were selected. They included a wind-turbine power generator, an innovative rain-capturing mechanism and a simple idea for ice scrapers to be used instead of idling cars during the winter months.

About the solar panels
The state-of-the-art solution is based on an 180kWp photovoltaic system, which captures solar radiation and delivers it to three separate inverters. These inverters then convert the direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in the facility. The system has the capacity to supply up to one third of the Laverton EPC’s total electricity needs.