Australian property group Stockland has completed its latest major commercial rooftop solar installation, a 925kW PV array installed at its Wetherill Park Shopping Centre in western Sydney.
The 2,900-panel system, installed by Autonomous Energy, is expected to supply 23 per cent of the annual power requirements of the shopping centre, which houses 210 retailers.
The solar project caps off a $228 million redevelopment of the shopping centre that introduced a number of other sustainability initiatives, including mixed-mode air conditioning, low-energy light fittings and climate responsive ventilation systems to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Centre – which has been awarded a 5 Star Green Star – Retail Centre Design rating from The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) – also harvests of rainwater for toilet flushing, and includes a number of community initiatives to encourage locals to walk or ride to the centre.
In terms of solar, the Weatherill Park project brings the number of commercial-scale installations at Stockland shopping centres to four, including a 1.22MW rooftop array on its Shellharbour shopping centre in New South Wales, which at the time it was switched on in September 2015 was one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar projects.
In the residential property space, Stockland last year unveiled its 8-star energy rated zero emissions house at the company’s Willowdale community development in Sydney’s west, which comes with a 5kW rooftop solar system and solar hot water.
“Our investment in sustainability initiatives like solar not only provide a number of environmental benefits but also new jobs and financial savings for our retailers,” said John Schroder, Stockland’s group executive and CEO of commercial property.
“We truly believe in the ability for sustainable practices to change the energy landscape in Australia and this new solar system installation is an important step in that direction within the large scale commercial property arena,” Schroder said.
“International research has found shopping centres integrating green principles are not only more energy and water-efficient, but can also generate higher sales. This coupled with the genuine savings that we can pass onto our retailers further influences the business case for turning green and how it can benefit everyone involved. Stockland is proud to be leading the sector in sustainability and investment in renewable energy.”