Autobarn Store, Dubbo, NSW.

40kW Rooftop On-Grid Solar PV System

Autobarn Dubbo is one of the leading Autobarn stores in Australia having won the national franchise in 2012/13 and Best State Franchise in 2010, 2011 and 2012. With the store operating 7 days per week, the manager/owner, Mr Neil Sturrock was looking for options to reduce the operational costs of both the store and his very busy workshop.


Energy efficiency was one of the major considerations. The cost of power has increased by up to 90% over the past few years, and with the extended opening hours of the store, this was an area that was highlighted as a primary target. Neil’s major objective was to reduce current and projected energy costs and also reduce the stores carbon footprint.

BMC Energy Systems were engaged to assess the site and provide recommendations on ways of reducing the operational costs at the site. The following areas were considered:
 Power Contract
 Solar Implementation


Power Contract

After an initial assessment of the current contract, we applied the following criteria to improve the result for the site:
 Aggressively negotiate the electricity contract by tendering your requirements to ALL qualified suppliers
 Aggregation of load requirements of multiple customers to create economies of scale
 Dealing with portfolio managers at a supplier level allows us to remove account management commissions from contract rates
 Employing a tender process that maximizes competitive tension
 Changing network tariffs/revising contract demand charges (if deemed appropriate after network audit)
 Explaining various carbon pricing options available from suppliers and the risk associated with each of them

As a result of the above processes, we were able to secure an $8,000PA reduction in the current electricity account. This allowed the management to apply these savings to other areas that would further reduce the energy savings.

A full site assessment was conducted of the lighting that was installed. By retrofitting all of the lights along with a few modifications, we were able to reduce the lighting usage from 68,169kWh to 30,677kWh per annum. This represented a reduction of 37,490kWh and under the original contract represented a saving of $11,622 per annum in year one. This also removed 39.7 tonnes of CO2 PA from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Existing Fitting Fitting Wattage No Total Watss Daily Hrs. Oper. Days Current kWh Replacement LED Fitting Wattage Total Watts Est. Yearly kW Save Est. Yearly $ Save
1200 Flouros 50 352 17600 8.6 362 54792 25w LED tubes 25 1250 27396 $8,492.81
1200 Flouros 50 8 400 8.6 362 1245 Hi Bays x 2 30 1500 498 $154.41
Downlights Halide 50 14 700 8.6 362 2179 LED Downlights 6 300 1918 $594.50
Ext MH Floods 150 2 300 10 365 1095 LED Flood x 1 40 6000 803 $248.93
Hi Bays 400 3 1200 8.6 362 3736 LED Hi Bay x 1 40 16000 3362 $1,042.30
CFL 15 3 45 8.6 362 140 LED Bulb 12 180 28 $8.69
Hi Bays 400 4 1600 8.6 362 4981 LED Hi Bay 120 48000 3487 $1,080.90
            68169       37492 $11,622.54
After the retrofit, the lighting levels and light consistency within the site increased significantly from the initial readings taken
Area Pre Install Lux Level Post Install Lux Level
Office 253 376
Store 338 369
Workshop 311 401
Below are photos taken in the store before and after the lighting retrofit.
40kW Rooftop On-Grid Solar PV System


Consideration was given for the utilisation of the savings generated from the contract and light retrofit. A recommendation for a 40kW solar system was proposed. The system would potentially generate 58,000kWh and save $18,000 in power costs under the original power contract. BMC Energy Systems engaged Regen Power Pty Ltd to design, engineer and supply a 40kW system. The system consisted of the following components
 160 x 250W Solar panels
 1 x SMA Tripower 17,000, 1 x SMA Tripower 15,000, 1 x SMA Tripower 12,000 lnverters
 27 x Tilt Rail Kit
 Engineering Design
 Monitoring System

The engineering and design were based on the current power contracts with Regen’s primary objective to reduce or eliminate as much of the peak and shoulder periods of the usage as possible.

Storage usage
Solar Implementation
Workshop usage
SMA Tripower Solar panel

Autobarn Management engaged the services of Scott Hansen of BTS Energy as the principle installation contractor. Scott subsequently engaged local company, Geoff Abbott Electrical services to assist with preliminary site issues. The installation was carried out by the BTS Energy team over a five day period, with the system being commissioned on the 24 May 2013.

Regen Power also supplied a power monitoring system for the project. This system allows selected parties to monitor the performance of the installation remotely. Below is a snapshot of a couple of days production from the Dubbo system.

Solar Power Monitoring System
Solar System Engineering Design

As a result of the installation, BTS Energy Systems is very excited that the quality and professional commercial installation work completed for this project has been recognised nationally. GSES, the respected consultancy firm that inspect systems internationally, have selected this BTS project to present at the CEC professional development day during the ATRAA Clean Energy Week in Queensland. They stated in their document that the installation on this project was

“Quality above and beyond the standards.”

The system has consistently generated over 100% of the daily expected yield of 142kWh. This reflects the proactive design of the Regen systems. Consistently, even during the current winter months, over 200kWh of energy have been produced at the site in one day.

Project Investment

A breakdown of the project is contained in the table below

Total Project Cost $148,231.55
Estimated savings in year one $31,315.00

The savings are made up of the following

Lighting Savings $7,600
Estimated Power Generated from the Solar System $19,235
Yearly Power Account Reduction $4,480

There is also a once off payment from the Energy Savings Certificates rebate in year one. This is paid as a lump sum payment and is not included in the figures.

The estimated savings generated in year one ($31,315) is a recurring payment each year. This figure is based on the current cost of power that the site is currently paying. As power costs increase this figure would also increase. This figure does not include any tax or depreciation allowances.


Below are copies of the pre and post energy accounts for the main store. There has been a significant reduction is the usage at the site and subsequently, these savings have a flow on effect to the network and ancillary charges.

Pre-Application of Technologies

sola saving estimate

Post-Application of Technologies

Estimated solar savings

I hereby confirm that at Autobarn Dubbo we have purchased and recently installed a 40kw Solar system onto our shop roof in Dubbo through BMC Energy Systems.

This week I received my first account for electricity since the installation and am delighted to say that my $8400 bill for 3 months up to May 2013(average 273kWh/day at a cost of $103 per day) has been replaced by a $40 credit for 1.5 months ending 30th June (average 63kWh at a cost of 26.31 per day).

To achieve this fantastic result, Barry came to Dubbo, studied our previous electricity usage and charges and consulted with me on ways to reduce our usage by changing all of our fluoro and Hi bay lights to LED.

We also changed our electricity provider to obtain a much better rate and then financed the purchase and installation of the Solar System on the roof.

The entire project from start to finish was led by Barry professionally and ran like clockwork, the result I was after was to have a enough solar capacity to operate my shop, my first account shows clearly that this has been achieved, my electricity account has been replaced by finance payments for the next 3 years, and then I will be in a building with no power costs and much more carbon friendly!!!

Thanks Barry, and your team for a project well done!

Neil Sturrock
Franchise Owner

Autobarn Dubbo
Phone: (02) 6884 4177
Email: sales@dubbo.autobarn.com.au
Web: www.autobarn.com.au