Green Energy Award Winner

Contact Group's owners at the National NECA Excellence Awards, with NECA Tasmania's Ben Shaw.
Company owners Trish, Bill, Wade & Annah Fromberg with NECA Tasmania’s Ben Shaw (left).

Contact Group was extremely proud to be recognised at the National NECA (National Electrical & Communications Association) Excellence Awards, in Sydney on Friday night.

Over 350 people from the electrical industry attended the Awards, which celebrate outstanding achievements and the best projects across Australia.

Contact Group was honoured to win the Green Energy Award for its design and installation of a new solar array and battery storage facility on the World Heritage listed Maria Island.

The solar panels on Maria Island

Contact Group was engaged by Tasmania’s Department of Parks & Wildlife to design and deliver the system, which has brought much more efficient and reliable power to the whole island.

Prior to the new system, the Island was using approximately 14-thousand litres of diesel per annum.

Contact Group’s design included a new main switchboard, a 55kw ground mount solar system, 215kWh of lithium battery storage and two new backup generators, all controlled and remotely monitored via a ComAp Hybrid controller.

The Battery Energy Storage System

Throughout the project Contact Group demonstrated clever design initiatives to limit environmental impact on the World Heritage site.

Contact Group’s Managing Director, Wade Fromberg, said he was humbled by the award, which is the company’s first national award in over 25 years of contracting.

“Being a family business based in Tasmania, it’s great to represent the state on a national stage,” he said.

Contact Group is passionate about renewable energy and has successfully delivered two remote island projects for the Tasmanian Government.

The first being on Cape Barren Island in 2020 and now this one on Maria.

Mr Fromberg said the latest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project was an interesting one to take on.

“Being a design and construct contract, we had many hurdles to overcome due to Maria Island’s remote location,” he said.

A barge had to come from Hobart.

Organisation was key to the success of the project, given there was no regular barge servicing the Island.

“A barge had to come from Hobart when required, as there was a large civil component and almost all raw material had to be freighted onto the island from the mainland,” he said.

The system was designed in a modular way for streamlined transport and installation on site, with approximately 70% of the programming completed prior to site installation.

“Over the past winter we achieved excellent autonomy with the generators rarely needing to start,” he said.

Mr Fromberg congratulated his entire team on the win, and said he was extremely proud of the on-site technicians who spent many weeks living away from home.

Throughout the project Contact Group demonstrated clever design initiatives to limit environmental impact on the World Heritage site.

NECA Tasmania’s Ben Shaw said it is an amazing effort to have a wonderful Tasmanian family-owned business recognised on the national stage.

“The Green Energy space is incredibly important in our transition to a clean energy future, and it is clear that Tasmania is leading the way,” Mr Shaw said.

The National Electrical and Communications Association has over 7-thousand members across Australia.