This is a media release I wrote for then client Trina Solar back in October 2015. I spent two happy years working with Trina and some great people, but like a lot of businesses, times changed at the Head Office in China and a switch of the main APAC office to Singapore as well as a decision to concentrate on India as their major market direction.
One aspect of the PR work I did for Trina was to research and write case history stories of where their solar panels had been used and the performance impact of those products in cutting energy costs or, as in this case, provide a unique solution to an operational problem. I researched and wrote about a story a month for more than two years, but this one has always stood out for me.
MEDIA RELEASE 15 October 2015
Solar powered boat improves tourist experience and boosts the bottom line
A solar powered boat at a remote western Queensland eco tourist resort has improved the experience enjoyed by visitors and boosted the bottom line.
Adels Grove is almost as remote as you can get being 3,500 km from Brisbane on the Queensland/Northern Territory border, 1,200 km west from Innisfail or 340 km north from Mount Isa, which is their nearest supply point.
It is located 10 km from the Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park and 50 km from the World Heritage Riversleigh Fossil fields.
Their major tourist attraction is the Lawn Hill Gorge itself and previously on-the-water access was only by means of canoes. However, this was difficult for some of their elderly visitors and as petrol outboard powered craft ruled off limits by Queensland National Parks the full Gorge experience was being missed by a number of tourists as the only alternative was to walk to Indarri Falls.
The owners of Adels Grove had the opportunity to purchase two 10 passenger tourist boats that had been originaly designed for operation with a 9hp petrol driven outboard motor. In consultation with Queensland National Parks it was agreed that a solar version of the pontoon would be acceptable to operate within the Gorge.
The owners of Adels Grove approached Matt Brewster of Qenergy Solutions of Mount Isa to provide them with a solution.
Matt said: “We devised the solar system using eight Trina Solar panels arranged on the roof in two strings of four, connecting to SunXtender batteries. The motor is a Torqueedo 4hp 48V electric motor replacing its petrol equivalent, a Honda 4 stroke 9.9. As a result visitors can now the travel in a solar electric powered boat to see the scenic majesty of the Gorge from the water.
“The boat cruises at 4km/h during daylight hours only and as a result the battery voltage remains above 53V DC ensuring the batteries are maintained at 100 per cent and the boat is powered directly from the panels.
“The battery storage is available if cruising above 4km/h (max speed is 10km/h) on low irradiance days with high cloud cover or at night or for any emergencies.
“In operation it is very quiet, just a low hum, which is important in such a tranquil setting,” Matt Brewster said.
Adels Grove joint owner, Michelle Low Mow said that the solar powered boat has dramatically improved how their visitors could enjoy the Gorge, encouraged them to stay longer and as a result boosted their profitability.
“Previously we could only offer canoes for visitors to row, or a short walk to see the falls, but now we can offer a quiet and comfortable one hour ride along the Lawn Hill Gorge. This is extremely important as the majority of our visitors are over fifty and a lot of them are over eighty years of age.
“The boat cost us $60,000 and we charge $35 per head for the trip and as over 3,600 made the journey last dry season we earned well over $100,000.
“Adels Grove has been operating as a tourist facility for over 40 years, we have been the custodians since 2001 and we are open all year round. Our visitor numbers have steadily increased from 4,000 to 28,000 a year and we offer accommodation and camping facilities, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner at the restaurant and fuel and a store for travellers.
“We are extending and are planning to build ten more rooms over the summer period and these will all use solar power and we plan to phase out the current diesel generating system over time,” Michelle Low Mow said.
For more information go to http://www.adelsgrove.com.au/
Footnote: Since that story was written Adels Grove has suffered a catastrophic fire and although they have managed to build eight more cabins their limited capital has not allowed them to install solar panels to generate their own energy, but they still have plans to do so in the future when funds permit. Michelle Lowe Mow is critical of the lack of Government incentives for businesses like hers to install solar and says that the problem is that they have to outlay so much cash for which they will not see a return until years in the future.
About Trina Solar: Trina Solar is a tier one world supplier of photovoltaic modules and in 2014 became the world’s number one producer. Founded in 1997, it employs 15,000 people in 22 countries and has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2006. It has shipped 11 GW of solar panels world-wide since 2007. In Australia Trina Solar has an R&D investment through support of the Australian National University and the University of NSW and is a major module supplier nationally to the commercial and domestic markets. For more information go to www.trinasolar.com
About Qenergy: Q Energy Solutions is a small family owned business specialising in renewable energy projects. It is located in Mount Isa Qld and has been operating for over 7 years. Matt Brewster the company director, was first credited with SEIA since 2001 and has been involved in the industry ever since. With a passion for innovation and development Matt’s has expanded his company’s activities to install over 1.6MW of renewable energy projects, predominantly using Trina’s Solar as their preferred partner on nearly all installations.
For more information go to http://www.qenergysolutions.com.au/
About Adels Grove: Adels Grove is a tourist resort located in a remote area of Australia in Western Queensland on the border of the Northern Territory 3.500 kms from Brisbane, 1.200 kms west of Innisfail and 340 Kms north from Mount Isa, which is their nearest supply point.
They offer scenic tours of the Lawn Hill Gorge in their solar powered boat, or by canoe as well as easy access to the world heritage Riversleigh Fossil Fields which are 50 kms away.
Visitors can stay in the comfortable accommodation or the camping area, as well as enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the restaurant, as well as the store and petrol station.
Released for Trina Solar by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)
For further information please call Dennis Rutzou on 0411 510 888.