Proposed solar installation at Dexus’ industrial property in Southern California, US

By Tina Perinotto

14 September 2011  – Dexus Property will reap a major upside to its industrial investment property at Perris in Southern California in the US with the lease of the rooftop space for a massive solar power installation.

The building, leased to Whirlpool, will now gain an additional tenant, Edison (SCE), which will install 36,000 solar panels over 513,588 square metres of rooftop space believed to be vastly bigger than any other similar rooftop installation in the US.

The power generated by the panels will be around 10 megawatts, sufficient for 5200 homes.

The deal has involved significant technical hurdles that needed to be overcome, as well as negotiations with the sitting tenant which needed to feel it was gaining sufficient benefit to deal with disruptions associated with the installation and that the project would meet its own sustainability profile needs.

Rent to be paid by Edison is undisclosed but it is understood that Whirlpool will share in some of the additional value to Dexus as well as some of the revenue from the energy produced.

Cost of the installation is understood to be about US$35 million.

Construction is due to start at the end of this year. It will use advanced “racking” technologies and ballast system, to enable the solar panels to be securely mounted and weighted to the rooftop without penetrating the existing building.

“This minimises physical impacts to the facility while maintaining the integrity of the rooftop and adjoining structures,” a Dexus statement said.

Chief executive officer of Dexus Property Group Victor Hoog Antink said the project was “complex and exciting” but would unlock further value with the Dexus distribution centre.

The deal would also fit Dexus’ strategy on sustainability.

“Dexus is proud to be a part of largest rooftop solar leasing project in US and  which underscores the group’s commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability,” Mr Hoog Antink said.

Vice president of government relations for Whirlpool Corporation Tom Catania said: “Our company has a long-standing commitment to supporting sustainable business practices.

“We have focused for decades on energy and water efficiency in the products themselves, but the manufacture, physical distribution and end of life disposal impacts are also important parts of our sustainable business commitment. ”

“Therefore, it is particularly gratifying to work with Dexus to not only fill the warehouse with energy and water efficient appliances, but to also help the building itself become a part of the sustainability equation. ”

He said the building would soon be filled with “smart” appliances that could “receive and respond to a smarter and greener electricity grid.”

Mark Nelson, Director of Edison’s solar photovoltaic program, said: “Thanks to the support of building owners like Dexus, Southern California Edison’s solar project objectives are being met – increasing California’s renewable generation resources and helping address solar generation’s significantly higher customer costs.”

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