Waste company turns to rooftop solar for clean energy solution


Cleanaway, Australia’s largest waste management and industrial services company, said the national rooftop solar program will deliver a combined 2.4 MW of solar PV capable of generating about 3.6 GWh of clean electricity annually.

Cleanaway, which operates a network of waste collection, processing, treatment and landfill assets from more than 250 locations across Australia, said the program is expected to cut Cleanaway’s annual electricity bill by more than $500,000 a year and reduce its reliance on the national grid by about 20%.

The company said the installation of the rooftop systems would be completed before the end of the year. Included in the rollout is a 600 kW array of modules at the recently redeveloped $26 million Perth Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Western Australia and a 99 kW system atop the organics recovery facility in Dandenong South, Victoria.

Cleanaway chief operating officer Brendan Gill said the company would have solar generation across 23 sites, including oil refineries, liquids waste facilities, and other MRFs when the three-phase program is completed.

“It makes economic sense to reduce our exposure to volatile electricity prices by generating our own power,” he said.

Gill said the rooftop solar rollout is expected to reduce the company’s annual electricity bill at the selected facilities by about 17%, or more than $500,000 a year, and significantly reduce the company’s reliance on the grid.

“In choosing which of our 250-plus sites were to be powered by the sun, we prioritised those that were likely to provide the fastest payback of our investment, but also considered factors such as roof size, angle, pitch and age, and operational hours,” he said.

“About 1.6 MW of panels are already in place and the remaining 0.8 MW will be being installed by the end of this year.

“Solar PV is a proven technology with little risk, and we look forward to realising the benefits of this investment immediately and over many years.”

Cleanaway is investing almost $5 million in its national rooftop solar PV program.

Image: Cleanaway

Cleanaway said the solar program would also help the company achieve the goals set out in its Sustainability Report.

“Given the scale of our operations we’re aware that we can make an impact with improvements like this,” Gill said. “The program is another example of how we’re working towards our mission to make a sustainable future possible for generations to come.”

The rooftop solar program draws on a $90 million Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) corporate loan designed to accelerate sustainable practices in the waste management sector.

CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said the solar project was a “positive” step towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“The waste management sector generates significant emissions through landfill and energy use,” he said.

“Cleanaway is leading the industry in implementing new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we congratulate them on this announcement.”

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