Stockland says it is looking to add rooftop solar PV to at least three more shopping centres in New South Wales and Western Australia after formally opening the 1.22MW rooftop array on its Shellharbour shopping centre, the largest single rooftop solar system in the country.
Stockland says the Shellharbour array cost more than $2 million but is already delivering cost savings and accounting for 28 per cent of the centre’s electricity use.
“With Stockland Shellharbour now generating clean, green, renewable energy for the centre and our tenants, with cost savings for all, we now have the confidence to invest in similar installations,” said John Schroder, the group’s head of commercial property.
Stockland has 41 shopping centres and was recently named the most sustainable real estate company globally in the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
It has already identified three shopping centres in its portfolio that could accommodate large rooftop solar systems – Wetherill Park in western Sydney, which could accommodate a MW-scale facility, and Merrylands, also in western Sydney, that could host a facility of around 800kW.
In Perth, the Baldivis shopping centre could host a similar sized array as Shellharbour, including up to 600kW on car park awnings, which would be the largest car park solar array in the country. The new centre was built with the installation in mind.
Greg Johnson – national sustainability manager for commercial property – said other shopping centres could also be targeted for rooftop arrays, if they had a large enough roof space and an embedded network.
Stockland already has three smaller arrays on centres in East Maitland (67kW), Nowra (50kw) and in Queensland (30kW), and has already met its 2017 target of 3% solar supply,
NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, and NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman inspected the Shellharbour facility this week.
The Stockland Shellharbour solar system, which was switched on in May this year, has already generated over 400,000kWh of energy for the centre, with the system on track to meet its target of 1.74 million kWh per year.
The system is currently the biggest, but may soon be overtaken by a 1.25MW facility being built by GPT in a shopping centre in Darwin. IKEA currently has the most rooftop solar by a retailer or shopping centre owner, with more than 4MW, while Woolworths aims for around 2MW by the end of the year.
The Shellharbour system, which employed 50 people during installation, comprises 3,991 PV panels installed on the roof across a total surface area of 7,658 square metres – similar in size to a football field.
On average, the system generates 4,789 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day – enough to power 280 homes and 28 per cent of the centre’s daily base building power requirements. Johnson said the output is sold to retail tenants, delivering them cheaper electricity than they get from their normal electricity retailer. 80 per cent of tenants had signed up for the solar power.