“Australia biggest” solar car park underway at Townsville shopping centre

A shopping centre in the northern Queensland city of Townsville will slash its dependence on grid supplied electricity by building what it claims will be Australia’s largest on-site solar car park.

A 1.5MW array is under construction by commercial solar company Epho, to cover a new 500-space car park at the Willows Shopping Centre, owned by Dexus Wholesale Property Fund and managed by Dexus.

The 4,800 solar panels are expected to generate around 2,500MWh of solar power a year, and significantly reduce the shopping centre’s use of grid electricity and associated emissions.

The new solar car park – which is expected to be completed in April 2020 – will also boost the shopping centre’s parking spaces to more than 1,700 that will be either shaded or undercover.

Whether the solar car park is actually the largest in Australia is contestable – as most of these sort of claims are. Just last year, South Australia’s Flinders University installed 1.8MW of solar PV across its Bedford Park campus in Adelaide, the bulk of which made up a 4136-panel shaded car park.

Other close contenders include Sydney Markets, with a solar car park (just shy of 1MW), a 1.1MW example at the University of Southern Queensland, and Adelaide Airport where 1.28MW of PV was added to the roof of the multi-storey short-term carpark.

Nonetheless, for Dexus, which is aiming for a a ‘net zero’ emissions property portfolio by 2030, a 1.5MW solar ca park is a big step along that path.

And for Epho, the project marks another “significant” commercial solar achievement, following the company’s role in Brisbane Airport’s installation of a total of 6MW of PV across six sites.

“Epho is excited to partner with Dexus to deliver this significant solar project,” said Epho managing director Oliver Hartley.

“Our recent experience in delivering Australia’s largest commercial and industrial solar project at Brisbane Airport means we are well placed to deliver this sustainable outcome in Townsville.”

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