Australian window shade maker taps solar with 800kW rooftop PV system


Sydney-based window furnishings company Hunter Douglas has become one of the latest Australian manufacturers to invest in a solar power system, to cut costs and boost their business’s sustainability.
The company, the Australian arm of the Dutch multinational, has installed an impressive 800kW rooftop solar system at its manufacturing site and warehouse at Rydalmere, Sydney, appointing local installer Smart Commercial Solar for the job.
According to the company’s website, the 2080 panel system will generate 29,955,000kWh of power a year – enough to power 4,608 Australian homes and abate 24,862 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Smart Commercial Solar’s Grant McDowell said the project was the largest SunPower P19 rooftop install in the world, while it has also reportedly the first rooftop installation to use a new kind of inverter, the SMA Core 1.

“This installation is notable for the cutting edge technology that we have chosen, and its cost effectiveness which will see it pay back the investment in a little over four years,” said Tony Politis, Hunter Douglas managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

It is returns on investment like this – on top of high and unpredictable power prices – that is driving the shift to solar by Australian manufacturers, large and small.
Just last month, Victoria-based cleaning and personal care product maker Nature’s Organics installed a massive 1.29MW rooftop solar system on its manufacturing plant in Melbourne’s south-east, as a first step towards generating 24/7 renewable power.
The roughly $3 million, 1299kW roof mounted solar system was designed and installed by Melbourne-based outfit, Sun Connect – with more than 5,000 panels covering 17,000sqm of the factory roof space at the company’s Ferntree Gully building.
It is expected to produce around 1800MWh a year, and Nature’s Organics says the next step will be to install battery storage at the site, to “fuel the 24/7 operation,” as well as further solar projects at other company facilities.
On a smaller scale, a NSW manufacturer of squeeze tubes for food and pharmaceuticals installed 290kW of solar at its Smithfield, Sydney, facility – some on its roof, and just under half of the panels installed using pre-fabricated portable PV technology of Sydney-based start-up 5B.
Also in June, Australia’s largest manufacturer of ham, bacon, salami and deli meats, Primo Smallgoods, got to work on one of Australia’s largest commercial solar systems – a 3.2MW rooftop array at its processing plant in the Brisbane suburb of Wacol.
While global consumer goods manufacturer Unilever announced it has “started its journey” in Australia to sourcing all grid purchased electricity from renewables by 2020.

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