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Australia to welcome biggest commercial rooftop solar system

19th Mar 2012

Australia's shift towards renewable energy sources seems to be gathering pace - especially if a recent announcement from NEXTDC Limited is anything to go by.

The company, which designs, develops and operates data centres in major Australian cities, has unveiled plans to add a large scale solar project to its operations.

It has committed to building what is believed to be the largest privately-owned rooftop photovoltaic solar system in Australia, which will be installed at its site in Port Melbourne.

Measuring 17,500 sq m, the facility known as M1 Melbourne will not only be lowering its carbon footprint, but potentially paving the way for other companies to do the same.

At a time when consumers are starting to come round to the idea of installing solar panels, this project could well serve as an example of just how important renewables are in the present day.

Initial estimates suggest that around $1.2 million will be spent to install the system.

It will consist of 400kW of solar panels that are capable of generating 550 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Chief executive officer of NEXTDC Bevan Slattery explained that the company is glad to be leading the way with solar, especially when increasing pressure will be placed on energy production over the coming years.

But the company's ambitions don't stop there, with Mr Slattery saying: "We are proud to be the first data centre operator in Australia to invest in solar energy.

"In fact, we are also committing to install up to 1MW of solar energy within the next 12 months at our upcoming data centre facilities."

Who knows how long it might be before other firms start to follow suit and give the company a run for its money?

Although a first for Australia, NEXTDC isn't the only major technology firm to have shown a preference for solar in recent days.

Apple has revealed plans to install what it claims is the largest privately-owned solar power facility in the US at its data centre in Maiden, North Carolina.

Details were announced in its Facilities Report: 2012 Environmental Update, which the technology giant also used to reaffirm its commitment to "pursuing energy-efficient growth".

Spanning 100 acres, the solar power plant should be capable of generating 42 million kWh of renewable energy each year - although the costings have remained firmly under wraps.

Posted by Mike Peacock

 

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