Stockland's Shellharbour solar array

Stockland has announced it will install a 1.22 megawatt solar system on its Shellharbour Shopping Centre in NSW – the largest rooftop solar installation to occur in Australia thus far, and a sign that the economics now stack up for commercial solar in the property sector.

It comprises 3991 panels at a cost of over $2 million and is estimated to generate on average 4789 kilowatt hours a day or 28 per cent of the centre’s base building requirements. The space of installation is 7568 square metres, around the size of a football field.

The system, which is expected to be switched on by the end of May, is part of a suite of sustainability upgrades at the 4 Star Green Star centre financed by Stockland’s recent green bond.

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It also brings Stockland within reach of its 2017 target of 1.35MW of renewables installed on its shopping centre portfolio.

Stockland regional retail manager for NSW South Daniel Buchanan said the time was now right for commercial solar in the property sector.

“We have been considering large scale solar for the portfolio for some time,” Mr Buchanan said. “While we have installed a number of smaller solar PV systems, and learned from the experience, it is only now that the economics and time is right for us to set a renewable energy target and commit to a range of projects across our portfolio.

“We truly believe in the ability for solar to change the energy landscape in Australia and this system is an important step in that direction within the large scale commercial property arena.”

Stockland group executive and chief executive commercial property John Schroder said the system was a perfect fit for the retail portfolio and a demonstration to the company commitment to sustainability leadership.

“This is an exciting project for Shellharbour and for the Stockland retail portfolio as we begin to include a higher proportion of natural, renewable resources into the energy mix of our shopping centres to reduce our reliance on energy from fossil fuels,” he said.

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