Four shopping centres to go behind the meter in major commercial solar deal

One of Australia’s biggest shopping centre owners, SCA Property Group, has joined the march to solar, after signing a deal to power four of its major commercial sites cross regional New South Wales and South Australia with a combined total of 2.9 MW of rooftop PV.
In an ASX announcement on late last week, Queensland-based solar supplier ReNu Energy said it had entered an agreement with SCA Property to own and operate solar PV and embedded network systems across four shopping centres, for a period of 10 years with an additional three, five year options.

The agreement also includes a first right of refusal on a further seven centres, following completion of due diligence and subject to satisfactory performance, the company said.
ReNu said that the first four projects, valued at around $4.3 million, would see the installation of just under 3MW of solar PV and provide embedded network energy supply to the four shopping centres and as many as 130 tenants.
Under the agreement, ReNu would enter electricity supply contracts with centre management in each individual shopping centre, which would be sourced from onsite behind-the-meter solar PV, installed on the roof of each centre.
Tenants would be given the option to sign up with ReNU, and any electricity supply shortfall would be sourced from a yet to be named retail electricity provider, thus ensuring consistent and reliable supply for customers.
ReNu CEO Chris Murray said the deal marks a significant milestone for the company, as its first commercial solar PV embedded network contract.
“(The SCA deal) provides our investors with a further opportunity to participate in a portfolio of renewable energy projects that provide long term revenue streams, underpinned by agreements with a high quality counterparty,” Murray said.
“We see significant opportunity to roll out this model in a number of different commercial building
applications, such as retirement villages and office buildings,” he added.
“These sorts of projects are attractive to both debt and equity funders, so position the company well for expansion over the medium to long term.”
For the ASX-listed SCA Property Group – the owner of 74 shopping centres worth $2.2 billion and over 500,000 square metres of gross leasable area in its portfolio as of 31 December 2016 – adding solar is simply smart business.
“These projects enable efficient energy provision to our centres and our tenants,” said the group’s general manager of operations, Sid Sharma.
“This supports our ongoing commitment to providing stable and resilient cash flows to our unitholders.”
Over the past two years, numerous major shopping centre owners have switched to solar, including the Northam Boulevard Shopping Centre in WA, which is now sourcing almost half of its energy needs from a 665kW solar carpark installation.
And Stockland Property group in February installed a 925kW array at its Wetherill Park Shopping Centre in western Sydney, marking the company’s fourth commercial-scale shopping centre installation, including a 1.22MW rooftop array on its Shellharbour shopping centre, also in NSW.
SCA Property Group’s first install will be at its Griffin Plaza shopping centre in Griffith, NSW. With all approvals already in place, completion is expected in Q3 2017, once the embedded network has been deployed.
The following three installations are proposed for Mt Gambier SA, Murray Bridge SA and Lismore NSW, with systems ranging in size from 360kW to 1.2MW.

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