Western Australia’s commercial solar market got a boost this week, after the state’s largest rooftop solar system, a 312kW array on the Broadway Fair Shopping Centre in the Perth suburb of Nedlands, was launched on Thursday.
The system, made up of a total of 948 PV panels supplied by SunEdison and installed by Infinite Energy, is expected to account for more than 30 per cent of the shopping centre’s electricity needs – almost 500,000kWh a year.
According to a statement, the installation followed a major structural upgrade to the the shopping centre which saw its entire roof replaced.
“We were looking for solution to grow income as well as provide a buffer against escalating costs,” said Broadway Fair general manager Paul Avon-Smith.
“Sun Edison and Infinite Energy presented us with a solar solution that made strong economic sense with the environmental benefits of reduced carbon emission being a nice bonus.”
Avon-Smith said the big job – which required around 6km of wiring – was made exceptionally simple by the project team, who delivered it on budget.
Sun Edison, meanwhile, thinks the project could help deliver the message to more businesses in Western Australia – and perhaps around the country – that clean energy makes real and immediate economic sense.
“People are catching on in a big way that going solar is not only good for the environment, but translates into real cost savings,” said Sun Edison’s head of commercial and industrial sales, Nick Brass.
A boost to momentum in Australia’s commercial solar market – which has been slow burner compared to the residential market, and to commercial markets in comparable countries – would be welcomed by the local solar industry, which has so far endured the worst start to a year since 2012, in terms of growth.
As we reported in mid-February, PV growth in January 2016 faired even worse than in “a depressed” 2015, according to data from solar analysts SunWiz, with volumes falling back across every significant size bracket excluding the 7-10kW range and for systems 2.5kW and less.