Another shopping center set for solar transformation

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A major solar energy overhaul is currently underway at Brisbane’s Calamvale Shopping Centre, with completion due to fall in the coming weeks. More than 2,300 solar panels are being installed on the rooftop of the centre, generating an average energy saving of 3570 kWh per day.

The project carried out by OTI Power involves an 850 kW solar array covering most of the rooftop surface with premium REC Twin Peak PV panels. The TwinPeak family of panels is an older product of the Norwegian solar manufacturer, which debuted its Alpha Series, a high-efficiency, half-cut mono n-type heterojunction (HJT) module billed as the world’s highest-powered 60-cell solar panel, at last month’s All-Energy event in Melbourne. The launch of the Alpha module follows that of the REC  n-type mono panel N-Peak last summer and the TwinPeak 2 Mono  in December. 

“OTI Power worked in partnership with the respected teams at REC Group and SolarEdge, and together, we look forward to providing a positive outcome for many years,” said Paul Blake, Director at OTI Power. “It has been a pleasure to work with shopping centre owners YFG Shopping Centres and managers Retail First in achieving their first significant solar installation.“

With installation underway and completion expected by Christmas, the initiative is announced as the start of a larger scale solar rollout to other shopping centres within the Retail First portfolio. With 19 shopping centres in its ownership, Retail First prides on having the largest privately-owned shopping center portfolio in Australia.

“We’re pleased to be leading the way among major retail operators in shifting to renewable energy,” said Bernie Furtado from Retail First. “While Calamvale is our first solar installation, we are committed to reviewing our centres for the suitability of solar systems.“

A considerable number of shopping centres across Australia are rolling out solar as a buffer against electricity prices hikes. The biggest initiative to date was announced by retail property group Vicinity Centers, which is rolling out a massive 31.8 MW solar program across its shopping centres in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia to the tune of $73 million.

Amid a lack of rooftop space, more and more shopping centres across Australia start to utilise solar-shaded parking. For instance, Willows Shopping Centre in Townsville is looking to build a massive 1.5 MW of solar array to cover more than 500 new car spaces, while a 440 kW carpark structure covering three double-parking bays will almost completely cover the daytime energy needs of Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre.