Case study: a solar-powered business in Redfern

A small business reveals how adopting solar energy has boosted not only its corporate citizenship but also its bottom line.

Marlin Communications founder Karl Tischler says installing solar panels on the roof of his company’s headquarters in Redfern was a savvy financial decision.

“Our solar panels have paid for themselves in the five years that they’ve been here, and now they’re essentially generating electricity for free,” he says.

“There are very few investments that offer such a great return after five years.”

Photo: Karl Tischler, Marlin Communications

But Tischler, who founded Marlin in 1999 to provide communications services to charities, causes and for-purpose organisations, says the economics of solar wasn’t his initial motivation.

“It was an emotional decision – I knew it was the right thing to do,” Tischler says. “Of course, solar makes long-term economic sense. But what drove me was the belief that someone has to pay the price for climate change, and that price has to be paid now and in our lifetime.”

Five years ago, Tischler and his staff of 16 relocated to their current Redfern premises and undertook a major renovation of the building, which had previously served as rented office space. Part of the renovation process was reconfiguring the electrical system and installing solar panels.

“You can’t simply click your fingers and 20 solar panels magically appear on your roof,” Tischler says. “I believe the relatively small amount of effort that it took was more than worth it.”

The panels provide Marlin Communications ­– which is a CitySwitch Green Office signatory – with about 40 per cent of its electricity needs, with the remainder coming from GreenPower supplied by EnergyAustralia. While Tischler has installed all the solar panels that he can, he says he’s actively looking for more ways to green his business.

“If someone told me they were thinking about installing solar, I would emphatically tell them: ‘You’ve got to’,” he says. “It strengthens your personal and business reputation, and it not only feels like the right thing to do, but it’s also smart from a financial point of view.”

Interested in following in Marlin Communication’s footsteps? 

Start by reading Renewable energy and solar power: the best options for businesses.

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