Vicinity Powering Up Battery Storage Pilot For Shopping Centres

Vicinity Centres - battery storage

Building on its substantial shopping centre solar power street cred, work has commenced on the first onsite battery storage systems for Vicinity Centres.

Under a joint venture agreement with Enel X, two of Vicinity’s 32 centres across the country are having batteries installed under a pilot program – one at Broadmeadows Central in Victoria, and the other at Lake Haven Centre in New South Wales. To have a combined capacity of more than 5 MWh, both installations are due for completion by mid-2023.

“The commercial collaboration with Enel X will help drive our Integrated Energy Strategy by delivering energy storage systems to our centres that complement our existing solar power installations,” said Vicinity Centres’ Justin Mills.

The batteries will store surplus renewable energy when wholesale spot electricity prices are low or negative and discharge during peak periods when prices are high.

“These projects will help Vicinity reduce costs by optimising the batteries’ charge and discharge strategy with our proprietary optimisation software DER.OS,” said Matt Schultz, Enel X Australia’s Head of Energy Storage.

Mr. Schultz said Virtual Power Plant (VPP) integration will also introduce new revenue streams for Vicinity, such as frequency support (FCAS3) services.

Assuming the pilot is successful, there’s plenty of potential for more batteries to be installed – more than 50MWh of storage. That’s equivalent to around 3,700 Tesla Powerwall home batteries.

Vicinity Centres A Solar Powerhouse

Vicinity has taken commercial solar to a new level.

In FY18, the company committed to a $73 million investment in on-site solar energy generation. In addition to cutting electricity costs, the solar rollout is also playing a big part in helping Vicinity Centres meet its Net Zero Carbon1 by 2030 target; announced in 2019.

The first solar panels were installed at Castle Plaza in Adelaide in December 2018. Since that time and up until the end of last financial year, Vicinity has installed more than 32.85 MW capacity across 22 centres. In the last financial year there were installations at Chadstone, VIC (1.55 MW), The Glen, VIC (0.92 MW) and Nepean Village, NSW (0.78 MW). And there may have been more since.

Output from all its solar systems since the rollout began (Source: Vicinity Centres 2022 Sustainability Report):

  • FY19: 4,965 MWh
  • FY20: 31,098 MWh
  • FY21: 38,913 MWh
  • FY22: 46,215 MWh

There are some really impressive installations in Vicinity’s portfolio, including what was (and may still be) Australia’s largest solar car park in Adelaide. Another of its interesting solar power projects – albeit very small – is a trial of Clearvue solar glass at Warwick Grove Shopping Centre in Western Australia.

In addition to its solar energy and battery storage efforts, the company also began working with ENGIE to deliver electric vehicle fast-charging stations in car parks across its portfolio during FY22.

Footnotes

  1. Scope 1 (direct emissions from sources Vicinity owns or controls) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from generation of energy purchased) from common mall areas.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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