McCain Foods unveils Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system

14 July 2020

McCain’s Ballarat plant will reduce CO2 emissions by 27,100 tonnes per year.

McCain Foods Australia has announced today it has commenced construction on a renewable energy system that will reduce emissions from its Ballarat food processing facility by more than 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The project, which will house Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system, will subsidise McCain’s energy consumption in Ballarat by 39 per cent.

The 8.2 megawatt (MW) system plans to utiilse a combination of solar and co-generation technology, with the solar system funded through a partnership with Smart Commercial Solar Pty LTD under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), funded by renewable investment fund, Solar Bay.

The new system comprises a 17,000 panel ground mount and carpark solar array, and a co-generation anaerobic digester that utilises biogas produced by food waste to generate energy. Together, the two systems will reduce the site’s reliance on natural gas by 16 per cent, and energy consumed from the grid by 39 per cent.

The solar power, which will be generated from unused flat space on existing land surrounding the plant, will also provide three electric charging ports and shaded car spaces.

McCain Foods’ Regional President Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China, Louis Wolthers, said the renewable energy system is one example of many initiatives to reduce McCain’s Co2 emissions in line with the business’s global Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability Report launch. 

“Globally, McCain Foods is committed to reducing our CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, ceasing any reliance on coal by 2025, and having 100 per cent of our plants powered by renewable electricity by 2030. This project makes a significant contribution to this target,” Mr Wolthers said.

“There has never been a behind-the-meter system this dynamic in Australia, and we believe it will set a precedent for large-scale projects for other major processing businesses.”

“We continue to demonstrate our commitment to Growing Green and Golden - sustaining communities, local economies, farmers and jobs for generations to come. That means every day, we’re making smarter decisions to reduce our impact on the environment in Australia,” he said.

Huon Hoogesteger at Smart Commercial Solar Pty Ltd said the business was excited to be partnering with McCain Foods.

“We pride ourselves on trust and transparency, and delivery of energy solutions that make great financial, social and environmental investments. We’re proud to be involved in this industry-leading project, and we’re looking forward to seeing this become a commercial reality,” Mr Hoogesteger said.


For more information, product samples and images, please contact Porter Novelli Melbourne:

Madeleine Page                                              

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About McCain Foods

McCain Foods Australia is a subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited that specialises in frozen potato products, vegetables, dinners, and pizza, for both the Retail and Foodservice sectors. The company operates production facilities, located on three sites in Ballarat in Victoria, Lisarow in New South Wales and Smithton in Tasmania.

McCain Foods is a privately-owned Canadian company headquartered in Toronto. It is a leader in the frozen food industry, employing 21,000 people and operating 51 production facilities on six continents.


About Smart Commercial Solar Pty Ltd 

As pioneers in solar design and engineering, we are driving a cleaner tomorrow. Smart Commercial Solar are a group of talented engineers and consultants who build energy solutions for smart businesses. We harness data to analyse, construct, monitor and maintain grid-connect and off-grid solar systems across Australia. Our goal is to work with our clients to drive strong economic and environmental outcomes.

As an experienced and well-respected EPC in the solar industry, Smart Commercial Solar have developed industry first PPA’s and have been recognised by being awarded a CEC Solar Installation and Design Award in 2019.

Smart Commercial Solar are utilising the latest technology and highest quality components via a technology partnership with Trina Solar. The high tech generation solution called TrinaPro incorporates high output, high quality solar panels and tracking system from Trina Solar, the world leading global PV and smart energy total solution provider. Smart Commercial Solar is also partnering with FIMER (formerly ABB) to provide cutting edge inverter technology. This provides McCain the confidence that the system will deliver against strict performance targets over the contract lifetime.