Suntrix Staff Member Profile – Mary-Ellen McMahon

Our interview series continues this week with Commercial Solar Consultant Mary-Ellen McMahon

What is your work experience in the renewable energy industry?

Bourne out of a Major Shopping Centre, marketing, commercial retail and assets management background, I grew my carer through Main Street, Retail, Precinct and whole Township, community management portfolios.

Over the past 12 years I have consulted to or worked for commercial businesses, Federal, State, Local Government across Regional Development Australia and not for profit organisations in Regional, Rural SA and the CBD, developing business and community programs and strategies for sustainability and growth. With great pride, I have developed a passion for assisting businesses and a client centric ethos.

With renewable energy experience in Green Building, Energy design and Environmental services, I have amalgamated this experience and spent the last six years specialising in solar projects with Global, National and State profiles, supporting businesses within the commercial sector.

Who buys commercial solar?

As the 2014 Clean Energy of Australia report identifies, Commercial Solar Power continues to perform well in Australian, with over 15,000 business at the time of the report having solar power systems, collectively saving more than $64 million on their power bills every year.

These businesses include retail stores, shopping centre industry, accommodation providers, fast food manufacturers , restaurants, chicken, mushroom and dairy farms, breweries, wineries, office buildings, general manufacturing, medical and veterinary services, community organisations and association; a broad spectrum of Small to Medium Enterprise through to large multi nationals.

In fact the commercial solar power sector was the biggest source of growth during the year, as more businesses switched on to the potential of solar power to help them reduce their power bills and manage their facilities.

The average system size has been growing as more businesses in particular recognise the benefits of going solar and install progressively larger and more efficient systems.

What benefits can commercial solar offer?

Energy efficiency improvements can make significant advances to a business’s bottom line, saving money and increasing the competitiveness of businesses in the process.

The increasing number of commercial solar power systems installed by businesses has been one of the shining lights of the market over the last 12 months. As solar companies offer more innovative solution and funding models where they offer to carry much of the risk and deliver a guaranteed return to commercial clients, this expansion is expected to continue.

The current range of industry offerings will be expanded to incorporate new products such as energy storage devices and new offers such as solar finance, leasing, power purchase agreements (PPAs), where a third party installs a solar system on the roof of business and then supplies that customer with the electricity it produces, usually at a price below the rates offered by electricity retailers.


What one thing makes you passionate about solar energy?

The fact that “It makes a difference” and through enabling it, so do I.

Its modular nature and mass production has resulted in significant reductions in costs over recent years making it greatly accessible and decidedly beneficial.  Solar has truly come of age.

What do you love about living in Adelaide?

Being the 5th most liveable City in the World, the fact that it is soooo liveable.  Good things come in small packages and Adelaide proves this. Great weather, changing seasons, expansive sandy beaches, a café/ arts culture and the Take a break, holiday at home qualities enjoyed with family and friends.

Where is the best coffee in Adelaide?

We are spoilt for choice. It would be simply wrong of me to name only one best place in Adelaide.

Whether in the Centre of Adelaide, the East End, Norwood Parade, Adelaide Hills, Barossa or the Coastal Shores of Semaphore, Glenelg, Brighton , Southern Adelaide, McLaren Vale, The Fleurieu Peninsula, and beyond…. The aroma of good coffee can be followed and found readily.

I can however congratulate the 2015 South Australian Barista Champions; Jonny Pisanelli from Abbots and Kinney, (76 Pirie St, Adelaide SA 5000) who took home this year’s title of SA ASCA Barista Champion. Doug Bolton who won second place and Rupert Peake who won third place, both from Cibo Espresso. They are well be worth a visit.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Adelaide?

There are so many great local restaurants and cafés in Adelaide, but one of my all-time favourites would have to be Enzo’s Ristorante, Port Road Hindmarsh.

Living in the Beautiful Port Noarlunga Coastal town though, we would be hard pressed not to enjoy a great breakfast as Salty Lime Café, lunch at Agatha’s and alternate our weekend evening dining between Hortas, Manoli’s, The Fleurieu Pantry, Ampika’s Kitchen, Harvest of India and the Deep Blue Café at Moana.

And for a leisurely weekend lunch and wine with friends, well… there’s choices galore in amazing McLaren Vale… Don’t make me list them!! What can I say? I am a girl…. Don’t make me choose!!!!

What is the one place or experience you tell visitors to Adelaide to not miss?

South Australia! All of it!!! There is no one place…. From to the majestic Adelaide Oval, our Festival, Arts, shopping and the cultural hub to scenic rolling Adelaide Hills, Southern Ocean Coastline, Nullarbor Plain, Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, wine regions and vast outback desert, and the amazing scenic coastal walks…

As a visitor, give yourself enough time to explore, or at least plan to come back – Often!

As a local, be a tourist in your own back yard.


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