ASX listed real estate fund Industria REIT has begun installing 1MW of solar PV at the Brisbane Technology Park, a commercial hub that is home to 43 different businesses.
The solar system, which is being installed by GEM Energy, will be spread over six buildings at the BTP, and the power distributed to the businesses via an existing embedded electricity network at the complex.
Once completed, the system is expected to supply around 40 per cent of the Technology Park’s energy needs, and hold any further energy price increases at bay for the buildings’ tenants.
Industria REIT fund manager, Alex Abell, said the decision to install solar at BTP was “fairly straight forward”, given the embedded network was already in place.
Like so many other commercial solar customers, the timing was right, he told One Step Off The Grid, with the cost curve coming down, for solar, while energy prices had spiked significantly.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with our tenants where they say their two biggest challenges are people and energy.
“We hope that by installing solar we can help address both those issues, by cutting business costs, and by make BTP a better place to work,” he said.
Abell said Industria had not yet worked out how much the solar system might save its tenants, but in the near term their intention was to is to keep power prices flat on FY17 levels, shielding them from the most recent power price rises.
And there are plans to add battery storage to the system sometime in the next 12-24 months, and potentially even to upscale the solar, at the same time.
“One of the challenges we have in Queensland is that we can’t send any of the solar energy (we generate) back to the grid at all,” Abell said – making battery storage almost a must, to mop up and excess generation for use when the sun doesn’t shine.
“This is a great win-win outcome that leverages the abundance of sunshine in Queensland to future proof and add value to Industria’s assets,” Abell said.
“Our proactive approach will result in over 40 per cent of energy being generated on-site, reducing the costs and improving the ESG credentials for our tenants, whilst also providing a healthy return for our securityholders.”