Four Adelaide shopping centres have installed a total of 1MW of rooftop solar in project led by the Australian energy offshoot of UK steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance.
SIMEC ZEN Energy, an Adelaide-based company that became majority owned by Gupta in September 2017, said on Wednesday that it had installed more than 3,000 PV panels across the Mitcham, Bayside, Mawson Lakes and Marden shopping centres.
The suburban Adelaide shopping centres, owned by prominent local property developer Andrew Taplin, join a major shift to clean energy in the retail sector, that has seen dozens of shopping centres and malls install solar, nationwide.
Among the biggest and most recent examples, ASX-listed retail asset manager Vicinity Centres announced the roll-out of more than 11MW of solar in a $28 million project that will incorporate five shopping centres across Western Australia and South Australia – enough to generate 17.4GWh of energy a year.
“Our choice for solar was easy, as clean energy is not just good for the environment, but also helps make our business and our centres more sustainable by reducing high costs of electricity in our state” said Taplin in comments on Wednesday.
“Our substantial investment will significantly reduce carbon emissions from ours hopping centre operations,” he added.
For SIMEC ZEN Energy, the shopping centre installations make just a small dint in Gupta’s newly upgraded 10GW plans for rolling out solar all across Australia, to help power and decarbonise its commercial and industrial sectors.
ZEN Energy founder Richard Turner, said the Adelaide shopping centre project showed that local business leaders were being inspired by Gupta and others on smarter and cleaner energy supply.
“If Mr Gupta can rejuvenate energy‐intensive businesses such as steel manufacturing on a platform of low-cost, clean energy, then local business owners should take note and follow in his sustainable footsteps,” he said.
”Solar is simply much lower‐cost energy than traditional fossil‐fuel‐based electricity, and will enable (Taplin’s) business to become economically and environmentally sustainable which is good for everyone.
“This approach will not only have financial benefits, but also provide clean energy for their tenants and customers,” he said.
“Their success will ultimately inspire other businesses to adopt a similar mindset.”