Commercial solar hots up in WA, as business wakes up to savings

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Perdaman Group says WA commercial PV market is booming, as businesses seek to cut their exposure to grid electricity costs.

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One Step Off The Grid

The company behind one of Western Australia’s biggest retail solar installations says the state’s commercial PV is booming, as businesses seek to cut their exposure to grid electricity costs.

Perdaman Advanced Energy, a recent spin-off from the WA-based Perdaman Group, says it has as least 17 new commercial solar jobs in the works, for a mix of hotels and shopping centres, since completing the solar carpark (pictured above) at Northam Boulevard Shopping Centre last May.

The 665kW PV array was installed as part of a major overhaul of the shopping centre in Northam – a town around 100km north of Perth – which was re-opened to the public this week.

Perdaman Group Chairman, Perth billionaire Vikas Rambal, said the PV part of the project – which can supply 40 per cent of the centre’s energy needs – had set a new standard in sustainability, and triggered a wave of new projects for his company.

Since completion of the Northam project, Perdaman Group says it has installed solar infrastructure at its Port Coogee shopping centre and at an industrial site in Forrestfield.

Its subsidiary, Perdaman Advanced Energy, is said to be fielding orders from some of the WA’s biggest commercial property owners, including Hawaiian, Australasian Property Investments Limited (APIL) and Strzelecki Group.

“The Northam solar project shows what can be done with a focus on sustainability and an innovative approach to energy supply,” Rambal said.

“It demonstrates that an investment in strategically-designed solar infrastructure can slash ongoing costs for big energy consumers like retail centres, delivering a much stronger bottom line for owners and their tenants.”

As we reported here last May, Perdaman Group – previously known as Perdaman Chemicals and Fertilisers, and Perdaman Industries – is the same company behind stalled plans to build a $3.5 billion fertiliser plant in the state’s south-west.

The ill-fated Collie Urea project, which reportedly attracted millions in funding support from the then state government, was supposed to boost the market for coal in the state, but hit a wall in 2011 after Perdaman became embroiled in a legal dispute with one of the region’s two coal miners, and has not progressed since.

The company has since switched its focus to regional development and solar energy, with what looks like a reasonable amount of success, so far.

And Perdaman Group is not alone. Like the rest of Australia, WA’s commercial sector has finally caught the solar wave and is expected to deliver record amounts of installations across the nation this year.

Among the more notable projects going in WA are the PV systems being installed by Vicinity Centres – as we report here – as part of a two-state retail roll-out of more than 11MW in total.

In WA, the company is installing 100kW of solar on the Currambine Central shopping centre systems in Perth’s northern suburbs, and a 2.9MW system at the Ellenbrook Central shopping centre, in Perth’s north-east.

In South Australia, the Vicinity roll-out will see the installation of a 5.8MW array at Elizabeth City Centre – which claims to be Australia’s largest single solar installation – and a 2.2MW system at Castle Plaza, which will include 500kWh of battery storage – the “largest battery installation” at a shopping centre nationally.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

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1 Comment
  1. Ian 1 year ago

    Until a company like Perdaman actually installs a few solar carparks, like the one illustrated in the article, people don’t think of doing such a thing, but success breeds success, and soon you won’t see a carpark that doesn’t have solar panel shading. Go commercial solar!

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