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WA's largest solar installation generating one-third of Perth shopping centre's power

2016-03-04 13:20:31

WA's largest solar installation generating one-third of Perth shopping centre's power

Updated yesterday at 4:24pm

A shopping complex in Perth's western suburbs is generating one third of its power from the sun after undertaking Western Australia's largest solar panel installation on its roof.

The Broadway Fair complex has installed 948 solar panels with the capacity to generate 312 kilowatts of power.

Broadway Fair general manager Paul Avon-Smith said the move would save the complex about $20,000 a month in power bills, which could be put towards funding capital works.

"We were looking for soft approach for the cost of doing capital works," Mr Avon-Smith said.

"It gives us an alternative to help cushion rent increases and price rises for our tenant base in a pretty tough market, but allows us to finance crucial capital works.

"So that allowed us to do a roof replacement project, plus put the solar in, with there being no upward pressure on our rents for tenants."

Infinite Energy installed the system at a cost of $600,000.

Managing director Aidan Jenkins said the huge fall in the cost of solar panels in recent years has meant the business model now stacked up for commercial-sized installations.

"Solar currently represents the cheapest way to generate electricity, so we will start to see these type of systems become the norm over the next couple of years."

Government grappling with 'tsunami' of solar installations

Large-scale solar installation poses a big challenge for the Government, which currently has too much available power in its network.

 

The rapid uptake of rooftop solar panels has been a big contributor to the problem, displacing traditional sources of power like coal and gas.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan has been an outspoken supporter of solar power and said the state is going to experience a "tsunami" of these types of commercial installations in coming years.

"It just adds more generating capacity to an already oversupplied system, but it is something we have to cope with," Mr Nahan said.

"Over the next decade these are going to crowd out traditional, large-scale generation of coal and gas.

"As we go down the track, these technologies on businesses and households illustrates that into the future we are going to have to reduce our production of traditional energy sources and that's the challenge."

Original Article:
"http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-03/solar-panel-installation-broadway-shopping-centre-wa-largest/7217984"
by Kathryn Diss

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