A shopping centre in the inner western Sydney suburb of Leichhardt is joining the retail sector-wide shift to solar, with plans to install a 430kW rooftop PV system on a purpose built carpark shading structure.
The $1.2 million solar system, which will be installed on MarketPlace Leichhardt by ASX-listed energy management consultancy Energy Action, is expected to supply 40 per cent of the facility’s energy demand, and slash its reliance on an already constrained grid.
Local Government Super, which owns the shopping centre, says expects the return on investment from the PV system will be somewhere around 14 per cent per annum, with a payback period of just over seven years.
“As a responsible owner, our aim is to minimise the environmental impact of our properties and maximise the returns for LGS members,” said the company’s property portfolio manager, Scott Armstrong.
As readers of One Step would know, MarketPlace Leichhardt is just the latest of a trolly-load of major Australian shopping centres that are turning to solar to cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
Earlier this month, ASX-listed retail asset manager Vicinity Centres announced the roll-out of more than 11MW of commercial solar that will incorporate five shopping centres across two states.
The $28 million project would install a total of 11.2MW of solar on the rooftops and as car park shading at shopping centres in Western Australia and South Australia – enough to generate 17.4GWh of energy a year, Vicinity said.
And in October last year, another property giant, Stockland, started work on plans to install a total of 12.3MW of rooftop solar across its shopping centre portfolio.
But the commercial solar boom currently taking off in Australia extends much further than the retail sector.
Energy Action said on Wednesday that it was seeing strong demand from new and existing clients for solar solutions, across commercial, retail and industrial properties.
“To date, Energy Action has installed in excess of 2MW of rooftop PV across Australia, including the iconic Sydney Theatre Company and Canberra Ikea systems, and we continue to build our pipeline of innovative solar PV projects,” said Energy Action CEO Ivan Slavich.
“At present, we are assessing the potential for solar PV across more than 40 sites including aged care, gaming and leisure, and commercial facilities, and with electricity prices more than doubling for some clients and considerably reducing the payback period for solar projects, we expect this level of demand to continue,” he said.