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Sustainable practises are becoming more and more common in businesses, and golf courses are no exception. Running a golf course is no cheap feat! But investing in sustainable ways of doing things can make a huge difference. Solar power is one of the most useful pieces of tech golf courses are using to provide better services.
Considering much of the area of golf courses is outdoors, solar power might not seem useful. What is there to power on the fairways? But here’s how solar power is transforming golf courses in Australia, and it’s more extensive than you might assume.
Not all golf courses are located in big cities, especially in the vast outback of Australia! Rural golf courses can benefit from solar power as it frees them from being reliant on the electricity grid. Energy independence means the ability to operate freely without the need to connect to the grid, which may be more difficult and expensive for rural golf courses.
Even golf courses in big cities can benefit by saving big on their electricity bills. Considering the size of a golf course and the amount of energy they use, ultimately this benefits everyone as it takes pressure off the grid.
Those who have been using diesel generators will also find that over time, using solar power is more affordable AND better for the environment.
Installing solar power may present a large upfront cost, but over time, golf courses can save a significant amount of money on energy bills. Australia is blessed with plenty of strong sunlight, so golf courses will be able to generate most of their energy needs with a few well-placed solar panels.
Over time, golf courses will be able to make back the cost of the solar panels with the money they save on regular electricity. And as the years go by, they’ll be able to invest those savings into other things, like course improvement, maintenance, booking software, the clubhouse, better quality rental golf clubs, stocking the pro shop with top-notch golf clubs and other equipment, and creating a more enjoyable experience for their patrons.
The golf industry is placing a much bigger emphasis on sustainable operations and eco-friendliness. Solar power falls right in line with helping golf courses reach sustainability and environmental goals.
Not only does this reduce costs over time, but it also allows golf courses to reassure their patrons that they’re doing what they can to be friendly to the environment. Many golfers are also looking for courses and clubs that emphasize eco-friendliness, so choosing solar power not only cuts costs but also raises their standing in the eyes of many golfers.
Clubhouse and Facilities
The clubhouse and restaurants can benefit greatly from solar power. Using the power of Australia’s strong sun for lighting, heating, and cooling is a sizable money-saver, and excess energy can be stored in batteries to use when needed.
Heating is a big guzzler of energy, so golf courses will find that they save a noticeable amount on electricity bills when their indoor heating and hot water for showers come from solar power.
Cooking and refrigeration also require a lot of energy consumption, so golf courses can expect huge savings in these particular areas.
Water Pumping & Irrigation
Irrigation also requires a fair bit of electricity, as water needs to be pumped throughout the course to keep the fairways and greens lush and healthy.
Solar-powered water pumps can save a large amount over time, and when paired with a sustainable irrigation solution (rainwater tanks, for example), the costs can be greatly reduced.
Electric Golf Carts
Golf carts are traditionally powered by gas, but there’s a trend towards solar-powered golf carts as well. They do have drawbacks—they’re not quite as powerful as gas-powered carts—but when it comes to cost-saving and eco-friendliness, they come out on top.
Electric golf carts are powered by solar panels, reducing the use of fossil fuels and protecting the environment as well as the golf course’s budget. While there may be an upfront cost to replace a full fleet of golf carts, this is likely to be made up in savings.
The reduction of fossil fuel usage makes a bigger difference to flora and fauna than most people realize! Solar panels are easy to implement into existing buildings or installed in such a way that they don’t have a negative impact (or any impact at all) on the wildlife and nature of the golf course.
Using less gas and diesel also has a hugely positive impact on the local wildlife and nature. Golf courses might even find that they’re suddenly seeing wildlife and birds they haven’t seen before because the area is cleaner and more conducive to a happy habitat.
Those golf courses that are serious about protecting their wildlife can take it a step further and use some of the money they save on energy costs to build bird habitats, landscape their courses to be more wildlife-friendly, or invest in other sustainability measures.
Australian Government Incentives
The Australian government offers financial incentives for facilities that take steps towards renewable energy. Each state also offers its own incentives, both for homes and businesses.
Golf courses that install solar panels and other sustainable options can benefit from this as it makes the initial investment much easier and offsets some of the upfront costs associated with installing solar panels.
If the initial cost of installing solar is off-putting for smaller golf courses that don’t have the budget, this is a viable way of making it accessible. Research the solar rebate options in your area to find out what you’ll be eligible for.
Solar power is transforming golf courses in Australia by making energy processes more efficient, saving vast amounts of money, and making them more eco-friendly, all without impacting the playing experience. Solar panels also don’t require a lot of maintenance, so it’s a win-win situation.
What’s not to love? The next time you’re playing a round of golf, consider how solar energy and other sustainability measures are making golf much more eco-friendly so you can feel good about supporting a golf course that takes these steps.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.