Solar project a sweet deal for Mars

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Mars acting general manager Duncan Webster with the new solar panels. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Mars acting general manager Duncan Webster with the new solar panels. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

HUNDREDS of solar panels installed across the Mars manufacturing plant in Ballarat will lead to a more efficient and environmentally friendly facility, saving the company $50,000-a-year on the company's power bill.

The project is part of a $6.2 million utilities efficiency project aimed at reducing energy consumption and green house gas emissions.

Mars Chocolate Australia acting general manager Duncan Webster said the project helped turn the Ballarat plant into a world class facility and shore-up production into the future.

"So there is 840 panels in total and the majority of those are on top of our administration building and on top of the packing hall of our bar line," he said.

"It is approximately 90 home solar panel installations equivalent."

The solar panels are part of a huge project designed to cut down on usage at the plant with plans to reduce water usage by 42 per cent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent and electricity usage by 25 per cent.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan visited the facility on Wednesday marking the completion of the solar panel aspect of the project.

"To the great credit of the company they are undertaking these various initiatives which will see efficiencies achieved very much in a manner that enables them to produce their product in an environmentally friendly fashion," he said.

The Victorian government contributed $1.5 million to the project as part of the Regional Growth Fund.

Mars Chocolate Australia's Ballarat plant is currently undergoing a five-year $52 million upgrade.

"I think it is something other companies can give careful consideration to," Mr Ryan said.

"They have developed a plant which is a very very efficient producer, albeit they face challenges in relation to costs, but they have been able to produce a product in a way stands for comparison with not only within their own ranks but in a global context."

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