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First came craft beer and distributed brewing. Consumers developed a taste for local niche brews, and the number of small breweries in Australia exploded, stealing market share from industry giants.

Now comes solar power and distributed energy, with craft brewers across Australia looking to source their own home-grown electricity in place of grid offerings.

The cost of rooftop solar installations has been steadily falling in recent years, as the technology matures and the production of panels, led by China, expands rapidly.

Globally, solar is now the largest source of newly installed power generation as of 2016. So, what does this mean for Australian manufacturing businesses?

Large-scale solar generation currently costs around $60-70/MWh to produce, with prices predicted to fall to around $50-$55/MWh in the next few years.

In comparison, retail electricity charges are around $200 – $300/MWh, with most contracts towards the higher end of this range.

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Packaging News

Intermediate bulk container and PE drum specialist Schütz Australia is investing in technology and facilities to better service the Australian market. Its newest plant, and 55th global site, officially opened in Yatala last week. PKN was there.

Digital print solutions developer Durst has opened a new direct subsidiary to serve Australia, New Zealand, and the Oceania region with its wide format, labels, packaging and textile inkjet systems.

National Recycling Week has seen industry join with Planet Ark to promote recycling, including TerraCycle, which launched more than 100 new zero-waste solutions in Australia.