Solar synergies in Broome
In 2017, we commissioned a $6.1 million, 1.3 megawatt (MW) solar carport development at our Broome Boulevard Shopping Centre, which is now the biggest of its kind in Western Australia1.
Just this month, the system has become fully operational and is expected to provide c.44% of the shopping centre’s electricity needs while reducing the equivalent of 1,540 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.
Use of the solar energy development is not only a sustainable, green initiative but it has the added advantage of ensuring a consistent electricity supply to the shopping centre to avoid blackout periods during times of severe inclement weather. Additionally, the system has been designed to avoid ‘black holes’ when large clouds pass by deploying a smoothing mechanism via a 1 MWh battery to protect the network and ensure consistency.
In addition to the renewal energy, the 3,600 solar panels, covering 8,000sqm, are mounted on a new car park canopy, providing shade to 42% of the shopping centre’s 770 parking bays.
Some technical challenges that were overcome during the construction process included:
- Achieving a cyclone-resistance rating
- Horizontal drilling for underground conduits with no access to historical site plans
- Access and time to complete the works during inclement conditions (Broome temperatures fluctuate between 13-44°C)
- Satisfying the Civil Aviation Safety Authority that the panels’ reflection would not affect safety/visibility at the neighbouring airport
- Distance and access to skilled labour – Broome is 2,200km from Perth.
The project, while still under construction, was announced the winner of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Sustainability Award 2021.
1. According to inhouse research the largest solar carports in Australia include: (1) Vicinity’s shopping centres, South Australia – 3.2MW (2) Chadstone Shopping Centre, Victoria – 1.6 MW, (3) Willows Shopping Centre Townsville, Queensland – 1.5 MW (4) Broome Boulevard, Western Australia – 1.3 MW (4) Broome Boulevard 1.3 MW, (5) The Pines Shopping Centre, Queensland – 1.0 MW
Perth’s premium-grade sustainability-conscious office building, Exchange Tower, is taking a step beyond its 5.5 star NABERS energy rating by providing a complementary electric vehicle (EV) for its tenants to use during business hours