Sydney Markets completes 640kW solar car park, nears 1MW of capacity

New South Wales’ Sydney Markets now boasts one of Australia’s largest commercial rooftop solar arrays, with the unveiling of a new and purpose-built 640kW solar car park on Tuesday, taking the Flemington icon’s total solar capacity to just under 1MW and adding 350 new, shaded parking spaces.

The $14 million industrial scale solar car park was built as part of Sydney Markets continued commitment to be “the greenest food market in Australia”, the solar component of which kicked off in early 2014, when Autonomous Energy was engaged to replace the Market’s 1970’s carports with new structures integrating 170kW of solar.

Phase two of the project was rolled out a year later in 2015, with another 100kW solar array added at the entrance to ‘Building D’ which houses Sydney’s famous Paddy’s Markets.

The new, $14 million 640kW array, again installed by Autonomous Energy using LG NeON panels, takes the combined solar capacity to 910kW, which as well as slashing the markets’ energy costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, will also attract large-scale generation credits (LGCs), allowing Sydney Markets to trade renewable electricity generated above the power station baseline to like-minded companies.

The Sydney Markets system also features a solar data monitoring program, that is open for the public to see.

“The upgrade is another successful step towards our goal of being the greenest food market in Australia,” said Sydney Markets CEO Bradley Latham. “By investing in large-scale solar infrastructure, we have improved the markets’ green credentials, while reducing its consumption of energy from fossil fuels.”

In an interview with One Step Off The Grid on Tuesday, Latham said the Markets – which after being privatised in 1997, and then buying the land from the government in 2002, is an unlisted public company, with about 2000 shareholders – anticipates saving around $200,000 a year on buying electricity from the grid.

This, he adds, is a great result for the company and its shareholders. “It’s just about communicating with the tenants. I mean, we’re putting new carports up, and if they’ve got solar as well, then they’re working for us, too.”

Latham says the Markets have got another couple of exciting projects in the pipeline, including plans to add solar to “Building D” – the markets’ growers’ building, which is spans about 2.5 football fields in area.

As we reported here in June, the combined Sydney Markets installation is now one of the largest of its kind in Australia, alongside the 1.17MW solar array on Adelaide Airport’s short term car park. (Brisbane Markets has a 1.06MW solar array, but it is installed on the market buildings themselves, as opposed to Sydney’s purpose-built solar car park.)

In Adelaide, shopping centre Westfield Marion is installing a 647kW solar car park canopy, built by Origin Energy, which just beats out the 636kW installation on the roof of the carpark at The Pines Elanora on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

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