Installation Of Australian Shopping Centre’s Monster Solar Project Begins

Stockland solar panels installation

Image: Stockland Green Hills

Installation work on a huge commercial solar power system has commenced at Stockland Green Hills in New South Wales – and electric vehicle chargers are also on their way.

Part of the East Maitland shopping centre’s $414 million redevelopment, the 1.863 MW rooftop system made up of 5,480 solar panels will generate an estimated 2.77 gigawatt hours of clean electricity annually.

“We’re extremely proud to be installing this solar project at Stockland Green Hills which will help create clean, green energy for our retailers, our customers and the community,” said Peter Hugh, Stockland Green Hills Project Director. “Solar is an important step for renewable energy in Australia, playing an important role in the transition to a lower carbon energy future.”

It’s more than just about the environmental warm and fuzzies of course, as solar energy makes good financial sense for the company.

Installation of the system, being carried out by Todae Solar,  is expected to be completed in May.

Also on the horizon for the shopping centre are electric vehicle charging facilities, which will be the first EV chargers to be installed in Maitland at a commercial premises. From March 22, two Tesla Destination and two Chargepoint charging stations will be located in a car park (Stronach Avenue access point), which will be free to use by Stockland Green Hills customers.

While a first for Maitland, the chargers aren’t the first for Stockland, which has 33 Tesla and 22 Chargepoint free charging facilities in 19 locations throughout Australia.

Other Sustainability-Related Features

The redevelopment of the mall is designed to achieve a 4 star Green Star ‘design’ and ‘as built’ rating. Aside from solar energy, among other green features of the redevelopment are:

  •  LED lighting with occupancy sensors
  • Water efficient toilets, taps, showers and waterless urinals
  • A 450,000-litre onsite rainwater storage system
  • Water and energy monitoring systems
  • Low volatile organic compound flooring, paints and adhesives
  • Subsoil irrigation in gardens with timers and moisture sensors.

The Green Hills PV project is part of Stockland’s $23.5 million national rollout of solar power, which the company says is Australia’s largest retail property solar program. Once fully complete, the project is expected to generate 17.2 GWh of solar electricity per annum.

Earlier this month, the company announced grid connection of a $2 million, 925 kW single rooftop solar system at Stockland Wetherill Park Shopping Centre (NSW) that will generate the equivalent of 23 per cent of the centre’s annual base building electricity requirements.

Solar Power – For Businesses Large And Small

Businesses don’t have to be the size of Stockland to benefit from commercial solar power. SQ’s Ronald recently detailed how small business solar installations can provide a simple payback of around three years these days due to the cost of mains electricity, availability of feed in tariffs and the plummeting cost of components – and here’s a real-world case study to illustrate.

As the SolarQuotes commercial solar guide states – if a business can afford to pay its electricity bills, it can now afford to go solar.

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.

Comments

  1. What I do not understand, is why it is that not all shopping centres in Australia, and, stores with big roof areas (like Bunnings, etc) are similarly making the best use of their roof areas, by, where possible, covering as much of their roof areas as possible, which photovoltaic panels, and, installing backup battery storage, to save money on electricity bills, and reduce losses in trade, due to electricity supply blackouts

    As Judge Bullingham was wont to say, “It is just plain common sense”.

  2. I don’t know where you got this information about the Green Hills shopping Centre but is clearly false.
    I live and shop at the Centre .
    There is vehicle recharge bays but as for solar panels I don’t know where they would be hiding them as there is roof top parking without a panel in site.
    Maybe you could verify this claim about the panels ?
    I would be keen to know ?

  3. Solar panels are not all they are cracked up to be, the marketing has at the least embellished the actual performance of the panel. When a panel surface temperature is above 27 degrees the performance will decline by as much as 30% as the temperature rises. As the panel is a black surface the will be double the ambient temperature, even on a 20 degree day the panel will not be working to its full potential. This extra heat is then radiated to the building below increasing the heat load on the building depending on the surface material, then if the heat is adding to the internal loads the Ac needs to work harder to cool. So a panel will give a little with one hand and Take a lot with the other…
    the ROI will be 10 years if its good …
    Time will show this

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Mike

      A typical panel will have its efficiency decline by 0.4% for each degree above 25 Celsius and even in a heatwave they generally don’t go above 65 degree. This means on a very hot day their efficiency will decline by around 16% so a panel that would produce 200 watts at 25 degrees would produce 168 at 65 degrees. As panels turn a portion of the energy in sunlight into electrical energy and because there is an air gap between the panels and the roof they help keep buildings cool. In Australia we gain much more from cooler buildings from reducing air conditioning loads than we potentially lose from requiring extra heating in winter.

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