Local ice cream company BICO Limited is putting a freeze on its over $1 million annual energy costs.
The Habour Road, St Michael company today announced completion of the installation of a $900,000 solar system that is expected to provide up to 15 per cent of the company’s total energy requirements. BICO is forecasting a payback period of three years.
During a media conference today to unveil the new 10,000 square feet of 182 kW hybrid solar system, BICO’s Executive Chairman Edwin Thirlwell said the installation of the solar panels was phase one of the project.
BICO took a $1.5 million loan from the Enterprise Growth Fund to carry out the project.
“We have spent $900,000 on what you see today. The balance of that loan we will use to bring the Harbour Cold Store . . . up to date to be HACCP [Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point] compliant with international food safety handling standards,” Thirlwell said.
“We are going to create a corridor. From the minute cargo comes out the container it will be in air conditioned atmosphere and the food will get in and [will be] sorted to the international standard. That is already planned, we just have to settle the prices.”
That phase, he said, should be completed within six months and it should “make a big difference” to how the company operates.
Of its total operation costs of approximately $7 million, BICO spends between $1.3 million and $1.5 million on energy.
Thirlwell said he expected fossil fuel prices to continuously increase and the company was therefore ensuring it was in a position to survive when they did.
“It is not something that you do once. This is a moving target, to we have to react. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future but all we can do is see what is the best solution at the time we are making decisions,” said the BICO chief, adding that the solar project was completed on time and within budget.
“Overall, the objective for BICO and Harbour Cold Store is to progressively reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and to improve our profitability because it is going to be challenging in the future because we are one of the very few companies that use the same amount of electricity at nights as we use during the day,” he noted.