20 Jun 2024 | Clubs and Facilities |

Cairns scores big win from the sun

by Martin Blake

Cairns Golf Club image
Cairns Golf Club is making massive savings.

A Queensland club is embracing sustainable energy and showing the way forward for other facilities across the country – as well as making huge cost savings.

Cairns Golf Club has installed 45Kw of solar panels on the roof of its golf shop and augmented this with 75Kw of battery storage last year, thanks to an $87,000 Queensland Government Sustainability Action Grant.

The club contributed $10,000 itself, and also picked up a second grant of $34,000 recently via the state government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund which will go to more solar panels for the club’s machinery shed.

The results of last year’s installation are stunning.

According to general manager Matt Bolton, the golf shop’s monthly electricity bill has plummeted from $1300 a month to $120 a month.

During daylight hours, it runs at cost-zero despite the need to run large air conditioning units and refrigerators.

The battery storage is used to charge a fleet of 60 lithium-powered golf carts at night. “We’re in the minority there,” said Matt Bolton, the club’s general manager. “For us, it’s a massive part of our business because it’s hot in north Queensland and everyone takes carts.”

Under normal weather conditions, 75Kw of batteries are typically charged by midday, with 15kw per hour (limited by energy supplier) returned to the grid in the afternoon.

Bolton said current daily paid electrical usage has dropped to about 23Kw per day, compared to 120-150Kw per day before the system was installed.

With a 25-year warranty, Bolton said the club anticipated that it would have 25 years of big savings from the change. It has already recouped the $10,000 it invested.

“It’s been a huge winner,” said Bolton.

“In 10 years time, that saving is probably going to be significantly more.

“We’re getting 25 years of value out of it. While it might not seem like a big ticket, when you add up the 25 years, it’s astronomical. And we can reinvest it back into other things. We can buy that piece of machinery, having it funded and when it wears out, replace it.”

Meanwhile 10 Queensland clubs have benefited from a combined $303,813 worth of grants under the Gambling Benefit Community Fund. This compares with four clubs and $137,100 of grants last year.

Queensland Government Grants

Baralaba Golf Club – Slasher $29,000.00 Blackall Golf Club – Tractor $23,800.00 Cairns Golf Club – Install solar system $34,000.00 Crows Nest Golf Club – Patio $35,000.00 Dysart Golf Club – Install gazebo $35,000.00 Goombungee Golf Club – Construct shed $35,000.00 Gordonvale Golf Club – Repair bridge footings $35,000.00 Kumbia and District Golf Club – Install solar system $14,260.00 Mt Garnet Golf Club – Replace roof $35,000.00 Springsure Country Golf Club – Mower and landscaping

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