Australian office supplies giant Officeworks has switched on its first behind-the-meter battery storage system at a retail outlet in Queensland, that will help supply around 70 per cent of the store’s power from rooftop generated solar.
With the addition of a contracted supply of large-scale solar and wind, the 100kWh battery alongside a 100kW PV array – installed by Smart Commercial Solar – takes the store in the Sunshine Coast suburb of Warana to 100 per cent renewables.
This is a first for the huge Wesfarmers-owned chain, but Officeworks says it also marks the start of a “final stage” of a years-long company-wide shift to 100 per cent renewables by 2025.
This includes Wesfarmers’ 2022 deal with Queensland state-owned clean energy generator and retailer CleanCo to source renewable energy from large-scale projects to power its major retail chains – Officeworks, Kmart, Target and Bunnings.
The renewable energy will come from CleanCo’s off-take agreements with Neoen’s 420MW Western Downs solar farm, which will be the biggest in the country when it comes on line, and the 1.02GW MacIntyre wind complex, which will be the biggest wind farm.
But for stores like the Officeworks in Warana, this outsourced renewable energy will only supply the balance of power for its operational needs, with the solar generated on the roof and stored in the battery supplying the vast bulk.
The store has also been working for two years to maximise energy efficiency, including through the addtion of LED lights, a Building Energy Management system (BEMS), thermal roof coating and double insulation in the roof.
“When fully charged, the solar and battery will have enough energy to power approximately 70 per cent of the store, or 35-40 residential homes each day,” says Officeworks energy and carbon manager, Patrick Heagney.
“While Warana is the first Officeworks store capable of using 100 per cent renewable energy, much of our store network uses onsite generation and where possible renewable electricity procurement.”
Officeworks chief financial officer, Brendan Hargreaves, says the introduction of behind the meter batteries for retail stores is also an important step for the business.
“The rising cost of living, increasing energy prices, inflationary pressure, and the impacts of climate change, means that we need to look at new ways to innovate, while ensuring we’re investing in a sustainable future for us all,” Hargreaves says.
“By creating and procuring our own energy, and working alongside clean energy providers like CleanCo Queensland, we can create our own energy and lower our costs of doing business – all while knowing that we’re making a positive impact for future generations.”