Author: Mat Lutter

Soil Carbon Farming

Sep 29, 2021 by Mat Lutter

As a landowner you have hopefully profited from what you grow on your land, whether it’s livestock or crops. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears with many environmental challenges you didn’t expect.

But have you ever thought that under your feet is a microscopic crop that could yield 1000% or more return from your investment? It’s drought resistant and government backed; Soil Carbon.

The agriculture sector was responsible for 15 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, emitting 76.5 million tonnes.

Cattle and sheep account for 75 per cent of emissions in the sector. Assuming herd numbers recover from recent years of drought, emissions are projected to rise, reaching 82 million tonnes by 2030.

Proposed regulations in the EU and UK are recommending any imported goods into the zone will be liable to state its carbon emissions and any carbon offsets that may have been acquired to reduce it. This is a carbon tax that will hit farmers’ wallets. Leading supermarket chains here in Australia are already asking their suppliers what they are doing to offset their impact.

You already know your farm is vulnerable to climate change and it may have had a devastating impact already.

But there are things that can and should be done now.

ABS can help with some practical advice to farmers on how to reduce emissions and secure resilient income streams that may turbocharge your superannuation fund.

After an initial assessment, the key to gaining soil carbon credits can sometimes be as simple as minor changes to land management practices. Indeed, these can boost farm productivity and store carbon while improving water retention.  The additional carbon sequestered can be used to offset the farms own carbon emissions or sold to corporations who increasingly want them.

Curbing emissions today is the key to maximising this economic opportunity tomorrow.

Carbon farming is a long-term opportunity, not a get rich quick scheme. Unlock the hidden value in your land, help the environment recover and improve your own farms profitability.

Call us to find out more.

Our carbon cup runneth over!

Sep 23, 2021 by Mat Lutter

How can you tell if a company is serious about their carbon commitments?

Multi-national corporations have only in the last year or two have stepped up rhetoric and action to lower their carbon footprint and are in many cases participating in the voluntary carbon offset market. But is this a genuinely effective strategy or “greenwashing?”

green wash

We like to think of the carbon in the atmosphere as a bath that is being filled with multiple taps from around the world and it’s getting pretty full.

Reducing your business’ carbon footprint is of course a good thing, as it slows the flow of water from your own tap, but what really needs to happen is for people to start taking water out of the bath. This is what genuine carbon sequestration does, and as humans we need to punch more holes in the bottom of the bath!

carbon sink or carbon bath overflow
We need more carbon sinks, not baths overflowing with no where to go

Three simple steps to zero

  1. Get an accurate baseline of your current carbon footprint and form a sensible plan to reduce your power, gas and water and waste. This is typically easier if you are a small organization and not expensive to do.
  • Review the carbon content of the products or services you provide and include the fuel used to bring it to your office and/or customer. The level of complexity rises as businesses will need an on site audit and the consultant to work with your engineers or designers to understand the product and perhaps offer some simple ways to reduce its carbon content.
  • Do a comprehensive review of your upstream and downstream supply chain. Contact all your suppliers and ask them to provide you with a statement of their own efforts to meet your environmental and social governance goals. This can take some time to complete, but we are already seeing supermarket chains pushing this agenda down to the farms and food processors that supply them. Failure to comply could lose your biggest customers. Getting ahead of this can save your business a lot of potentially lost revenue or put you in the box seat for new contracts.
We need to have a holistic view when it comes to carbon emissions and how we reduce them

Driving to NET ZERO and BEYOND

Microsoft is taking the unusual step of taking the superhighway to zero, and they can afford it. In 2020 management approved a programme to find ways to not only be carbon neutral, but to effectively remove all the carbon the company has produced since 1975! This will in part be funded by a carbon tax on their suppliers, but also a $1bn innovation and low carbon fund. Perhaps one of the biggest problems in the carbon offset market is the lack of credible auditing to verify genuine carbon sequestration. Microsoft have decided to use global accountants Deloitte to write their sustainability report.

The problem now is going to be finding enough genuine carbon sequestration projects that can be verified as taking out enough tons of carbon to meet that 1975 to present goal! This is a constantly evolving market said to be worth $48 billion dollars in the next 10 years. Maybe humanity will find that bath plug and start making a meaningful impact on draining enough carbon out.

N Series Solar Panels

Jun 18, 2021 by Mat Lutter

What does this mean?

Solar panel efficiency has increased substantially over the last year or two, with most manufacturers offering more power per panel in the same size frame. Now over 350w of energy per panel should be usual for all equipment lists, or its old inventory. This does not increase the customers optimal system size, just the number of panels on the roof will be less to get the same output.  More importantly for our customers, the increase in volume production means the longer lasting N series technology is replacing the older P series, without increasing panel cost.  What is “P”series? There are detailed technical explanations at the link below. Essentially, it means more energy efficiency, less degradation per year for longer system life.

What is the difference between N series and P series technology?

There are three really important things we tell our customers and prospects about decisions regarding solar installers;

  • The right equipment
  • The right installer
  • The right balance of system.

The last one is perhaps the hardest for the customer to be expected to understand, yet the most important, because it’s all the hidden stuff that goes on the roof, and the cabling and isolators that run inside your building. This is often where corners are cut, and can seriously affect the quality of power output, reliability and most of all system safety. “The most expensive way to go solar – is on the cheap!” – is a truism.

This article is only to focus on the new  panels we are recommending. There are plenty of very good panels out there, the evolution of solar panels is rather like your mobile phone. They got better and better until the marginal difference between brands, and technical specification becomes so small it is hardly noticeable.

Customers don’t look at their phone and say, “how long will it be before this thing has paid back what it owes me?” We find, most of our customers really care about “how long it will be before that stuff on the roof has paid me back!”

Equipment

ABS has chosen the Jinko Tiger Series as best value for money.  It utilizes Jinko’s leading technology and is the most efficient panel they offer into the Australian market.

The Tiger Series cell technology comes in the more efficient and durable N-type, without going into too much technical detail it has a 30-year performance warranty and an annual degradation rate of only 0.4% after the first year. To be clear, there are slightly more efficient panels available from other manufacturers, but the significant increase in cost, for a very small performance boost increases the customer payback by a year or two which really isn’t worth it. Conversion efficiency has to do with the ability of the solar cells to convert the sunlight hitting them into energy and there is a trade off between this and cost per watt to the customer.

Just to labour the “return on investment” point for a moment, high efficiency 400W+ panel could cost $300 or more while a common 350W panel will typically cost closer to $150 per panel. This equates to roughly $0.42 per Watt compared to $0.75 per Watt. This is about saving the environment, but also about saving money!

We will save the discussion about the heart of your solar system, the inverter for another blog, and you can be assured as a CEC approved retailer we are fastidious about using only the best Australian approved balance of systems.