Australia to build more grid scale solar on industrial rooftops
In spite of being a world leader in domestic rooftop solar, Australia lags in commercial and industrial arrays due to the lack of expertise and interest in using roof space for power generation. With the increasing demand, Australia has decided to make a move in that way.
Australia’s first grid-scale sites to be developed include the former Ford plant in Victoria, the General Motors Holden plant in South Australia, and another undisclosed site in the Hunter Valley, NSW. They are set to have rooftop solar farms and grid-scale batteries.
Many industrial giants have come forward with their consent. Pelligra Group, the property giant, has agreed to give CEP Energy access to 10 million square metres of rooftop space. CEP Energy chairman Morris Iemma, said the larger sites owned by Pelligra were particularly well-suited to solar energy projects because they provide large amounts of space close to cities and industrial centres.
CEP plans to sell discounted energy directly to tenants engaged in power-hungry manufacturing processes, and to sell excess power to the grid. Providing energy to the industrial tenants would help in retaining them as many of them have gone offshore recently due to the increasing concerns about cost and reliability of energy in Australia.
CEP Energy targets to build capacity to generate 1500 megawatts of power, with 1000 megawatts of battery storage in five years’ time. It would power around 600,000 homes.
Narellan Town Centre, jointly owned by the Vitocco and Perich families has made an agreement with CEP Energy. It is a 30-year, $40 million rooftop power plant with onsite battery on the south-west of Sydney.
Mr Pelligra said the deal is in line with the family company’s outlook of having a safe, clean environment as well as gives the labourers an assurance of power. If industrial sites can provide cheap reliable power with rooftop solar, Australia can attract more manufacturers to open or re-open plants.
Chris McLean, a PwC partner advises CEP Energy that this project is cheaper than other rooftop businesses. Owing to its scale and location, this project is as big as a traditional solar or wind farm. Hence the cost to produce and store renewable energy is relatively cheap.
Origin Energy Limited is planning to build a battery at Eraring Power Station in NSW which would be in line with the company’s decarbonisation objectives and recent NSW energy policy announcements. The power station will have a capacity of up to 700 MW and a dispatch duration of four hours. This large-scale battery at Eraring will ensure a reliable supply for customers.
Solar power has enormous potential as an energy source in emerging markets. Australia plans to build more grid scale solar on industrial rooftops so that they can deliver power less expensively and with more long-term price certainty, than coal-fired power.