Property group GPT has begun construction of what will be Australia’s largest solar array on a commercial building, with a 1.25MW installation at its Casuarina Square shopping centre in the northern suburbs of Darwin.
The 4,700 panel array will just edge out a 1.22MW array recently installed by GPT property rival Stockland Group at its Shellharbour shopping centre in southern NSW.
The Casuarina Square system will account for around 20 per cent of the building’s “common area” electricity demand, GPT says, and due to be fully operational in November.
GPT has already installed solar arrays at numbers 3 and 5 Murray Rose (125kW pictured below) at Sydney Olympic Park, the Rouse Hill Town Centre and the Maribyrnong Homemaker Centre. The size of the solar arrays on these buildings range from 50kw to 350kw.
GPT head of sustainability performance Steve Ford said the company is expected to have more than 2MW of rooftop solar installed by the end of the year and is looking to expand its use of solar energy to help reach the company’s zero carbon target.
“After the initial investment there’s negligible costs with the electricity coming from the sun,” Ford said in en emailed statement.
“It assists in reducing our maximum demand from the grid.We’re reviewing all of our buildings with large footprints. The PV arrays are part of a broader strategy GPT has in place to reach its policy of zero carbon.”
GPT is also looking at the use of smart control systems and replacing older appliances with more efficient ones, installed LED lighting and using more “green” power from the grid.
The company has already cut emissions by 50 per cent from 2005 levels, and says it is gaining through lower operating costs, and higher rents from better quality buildings. It says it saved $24.5 million in energy costs in the last year.
GPT’s Head of Sustainability, Bruce Precious broke down the simple approach to achieving the zero carbon target.
“We are doing three simple things – improving energy productivity, implementing on-site renewable generation and when that’s not viable, using off-site renewable generation,’’ GPT’s head of sustainability, Bruce Precious was quoted as saying in a recent blog posted on the company’s website.