Coca-Cola goes solar in Australia


Australia’s commercial and industrial (C&I) solar market segment is going from strength to strength, as power bills continue to hurt bottom lines of large businesses Down Under.

The latest to join this renewable energy investment trend is Coca-Cola Amatil, which is set to install 3.5 MW of solar PV across three sites over the next eight to ten months.

C&I PV and energy efficiency provider Verdia will manage the 10,000-solar panel rollout across Coca Cola Amanti’s bottling operations in QLD, NSW and WA, with the help of 50 contractors and suppliers across the sites to fast track the project delivery.

“By mid next year, Coca-Cola Amatil will be drawing around 14% less energy from the local electricity grid across these three sites. They’re replacing it with power from the sun, which equates to a reduction of 4,163 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year,” Verdia CEO Paul Peters said.

In terms of savings, the solar installations will help to cut Coca-Cola Amatil’s annual energy costs by up to $1.3 million, with the company using almost all of the energy from the three solar systems on site – with little or no export – given they have steady predictable load seven days a week.

“On current figures the installation will pay for itself in six to seven years and is expected to provide an additional $14 million benefit over its lifetime,” said Coca-Cola Amatil Managing Director for Australian Beverages, Peter West.

“We’re also committed to obtaining at least 60 per cent of our energy needs from renewable and low-carbon sources, by 2020. So, this installation is a win-win for us.“

According to Verdia, the Coca-Cola Amatil project is part of an estimated 68 MW of behind-the-meter solar PV systems being developed and installed by the company across Australia.

Earlier this year, Verdia was contracted to deliver ver 10 MW of rooftop solar for major shopping centre owner Stockland at nine sites in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Speaking of beverages and renewables, Australian brewer Cartlon United Breweries is also one of the large industrial electricity consumers to switch onto solar with a 12-year PPA with BayWa r.e. to purchase 74,000 MWh a year from the 112 MW Karadoc solar farm in Mildura, Victoria.

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