This month the Bass and Flinders Distillery in Dromana flicked the switch on their brand new 39 kW solar system. It’s a big moment for this family owned business that prides themselves on small things – small batches, artisanal products, attention to detail and small changes for the better.

From humble beginnings in Red Hill, Bass and Flinders moved to their purpose-built space in the Dromana Industrial Estate around three years ago. One of their key business strategies has always been around sustainability and their long-term environmental footprint.

They started their sustainability journey by using locally foraged botanicals in their products – sea kelp, samphire and salt bush in their Maritime Gin to add uniquely Mornington Peninsula flavours. They partner with a little local truffle farm for their limited release Truffle Gin, local cherries feature in their Cerise Gin, and local pinot noir in their Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin. Local ingredients minimise carbon miles and ensures the products are truly ‘of the peninsula’.

The distillery also has a program in place to minimise waste from their ingredients. This means that if they need a huge amount of citrus rind for one of their delicious products (no fake fragrances or artificial flavours here!), then the remaining fruit is either turned into preserves by other local businesses, or handed over to local restaurants for chefs to work with. Minimising wastage is a win-win for the environment, so stepping up to solar was a logical addition to their sustainability platform.

To complete the solar project they worked with the Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Sustainable Australia Fund- becoming the fifteenth Mornington Peninsula business to receive Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF).

Holly Klintworth, Managing Director, second generation Head Distiller and owner of the business, shared

“Our ‘backyard’ is really important to us. We feel the need to look after it, so it’s part of our brand approach to take a lead in the sustainability space. It also ties into our customers priorities and our partners values.

“At Bass and Flinders we use the French ‘Charentais’ distillation method – it’s small scale and low energy using. But even though the distillery is not a huge energy consumer we wanted to make a positive contribution. We are proud that we are going to be generating excess energy from year one.”

For them it made commercial sense to make use of the space on the roof. It is an ideal location; out of the way, open to full sun, and flat - allowing for the panels to be easily installed. So while the stills are bubbling away in the distillery, the solar is quietly delivering electricity to the grid.

The solar array at Bass and Flinders brings the total now invested on the Mornington Peninsula through this program to $2,062,367. Since 2016, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has worked with (now) fifteen local businesses from the hospitality, retail and agricultural sectors to secure Environmental Upgrade Finance.  This has funded a range of projects including the installation of 1,153.5kW of solar power, electric car charge points, 13.5kW of solar battery storage, double glazing, lighting upgrades and more. There are some big numbers involved; lifetime savings  of 41,422 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and operational lifetime savings of $6,665,723!

Scott Bocskay, CEO of the Sustainable Australia Fund, is impressed with the impact the program is making.

“We’re really excited to be able to help small businesses save money and improve their sustainability, without impacting their cashflow. It’s been a tough couple of years for businesses and sustainable building upgrades might currently not be a high priority for owners. However as our finance can deliver operational savings from the very first year, many of our clients are saving thousands of dollars - and saying it’s an absolute no-brainer!”

Read all the EUF Mornington Peninsula case studies here

EUF program background info

EUF is a type of government-enabled finance that provides businesses with the opportunity to upgrade their premises to save on energy, water and waste. There's money to be made for both tenants and landlords through solar and building upgrades that can improve the value of their asset, modernise the building with no impact on cashflow, save money and attract more customers.

Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) is a long-term loan used to undertake a range of energy, water and waste upgrades.  EUF is available through the Sustainable Australia Fund and is attached to a property which can stay there even after the building is sold. The repayments are made through local rates programs. Consequently, the loans can be repaid over a longer period, reducing annual repayments and giving businesses access to immediate cash savings.

The finance can be used for a wide range of upgrades including:

  • Solar panels (rooftop or free standing)
  • LED lighting and motion sensors
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation
  • Refrigeration
  • Water and building efficiency upgrades
  • Waste management
  • Other energy, water or waste efficiency upgrades
  • Bushfire resilience measures such as installing metal gutters, repairing or upgrading roofs, installing mesh guard on windows and doors, installing a sprinkler system, hoses or emergency water supply for fire fighting.
  • Drought and water efficiency adaptation measures such as projects to prevent nutrient runoff from agricultural land, irrigation, nutrient and waste management.

EUF offers businesses up to 100% project finance with terms of up to 20 years with 5 year fixed interest rate periods and quarterly payments.  No additional personal security is required. Loans are fully transferrable upon the sale of the building.  Repayments can be shared with tenants if that suits all parties.

Learn more about Environmental Upgrade Finance.

Business may also be eligible for rebates under the  Small Business Energy Saver Program which offers significant rebates (up to 85%) to small business for upgrades such as heating and cooling and refrigeration. There are also rebates via the State government Solar for Business Program | Solar Victoria that cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of a rooftop solar system with small businesses eligible for a maximum rebate of $3,500 to reduce the upfront cost of installing solar on their business premises.

Environmental Upgrade Finance can work alongside available government rebates and programs to help businesses cover their portion of costs.

As our local businesses continue to reinvent local experiences, we can all make a difference. Stay, play and explore local – you might be surprised what you rediscover in your own backyard.

Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Support Local campaign urges community to support local. Connect with local businesses on our Support Local Business Directory

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