Property group Stockland is building a 1.22MW rooftop solar system on its Shellharbour Shopping Centre in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, in what it says will be the largest single rooftop system in the country.
Daniel Buchanan, the head of Stockland operations in the region, said the company had been considering large scale solar for the portfolio for some time.
“While we have installed a number of smaller solar PV systems, and learned from the experience, it is only now that the economics and time is right for us to set a renewable energy target and commit to a range of projects across our portfolio.”
He says the company aims to have 1.35MW of installed renewable energy capacity in its shopping centre portfolio by fiscal year 2017. The Shellharbour project will be completed in May.
Stockland last October issued Australia’s first corporate “green bond” with a €300 million ($A431 million) bond raising for funds to invested in retail, commercial, residential and retirement building projects with a minimum 4 Star Green Star rating. The $330 million Shellharbour shopping centre was completed in 2013.
The solar system will comprise of 3991 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels provided by Canadian Solar, and is expected to generate an average 4,789 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day, enough – it says – to power 280 homes.
Daniel Ruoss, country manager for Canadian Solar Australia, Daniel Ruoss said it was an “industry defining” project, and said his company won the contract due it to its “excellent bankability”, and the industry’s highest power outputs per panel.
Danin Kahn, the CEO of Todae Solar, which is doing the installation, says solar will change the energy landscape in Australia and this system is a signpost for the direction of the large commercial market. “This project will hopefully make many other organisations out there sit up and take notice to start thinking about solar,” he said.
The largest rooftop array in Australia is a 1.2MW array on the campus of University of Queensland, although this is on several buildings. Origin Energy is to build a 3.2MW rooftop array on the old Mitsubishi factory in Adelaide – now a technology innovation centre – although this will be build in stages.