Stockland leads commercial solar power charge

Stockland leads commercial solar power charge

15 September 2017

With surging power prices eating into commercial landlord profits, diversified property player Stockland is rolling out the largest solar project undertaken by a commercial property landlord in Australia, reports the AFR.

When finished the $23.5 million project will cover 10 shopping centre rooftops with 6.4 hectares or 39,000 solar panels generating 17.2GWh of energy every year.

The installations will account for between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of the baseload and usage by retailers at the 10 malls, excluding supermarkets and department stores.

Stockland’s CEO and managing director Mark Steinert says the payoff will come in the form of an average 11.6 per cent yield on the capital investment over 10 years.

“That’s well above cost of capital,” Mr Steinert said.

The sheer scale of the project may even eventually allow Stockland to supply excess power to the national energy market, another commercial payoff.

Stockland has already installed more solar panels across its assets than any diversified property company listed in Australia, and will roll out new solar installations across shopping centres in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Solar power is experiencing a renaissance in Australia with industry analysts reporting that Australian homes and businesses have installed record numbers of rooftop installations.

Meanwhile, the next wave of solar power panels has emerged in the United States. Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, has released solar roof tiles that look just like traditional roof tiles. The durable tiles feed power to a Powerwall home battery that supplements power from the traditional power grid. The company is now taking pre-orders for the so-called Solar Roof in Australia.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Cambridge have created “solar tarps” from perovskite, a lighter material than silicon solar panels.

According to lead researcher Sam Stranks, only 60 percent of homes in the U.S. are capable of withstanding the weight of traditional silicon solar panels.

“The long-term vision is really to bring down solar to very very low prices, make it accessible for everyone and really provide the utility-scale power,” Stranks told Inverse.

While Tesla’s Solar Roof comes with a “lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” warranty, researchers don’t know how long the current “solar tarps” can last. The Solar Roof also comes with tax credits in the US.

Australian property developer Mirvac recently announced that their new blue-chip housing development at Doncaster, Melbourne, will incorporate Tesla Powerwall battery packs and CSIRO-backed Evergen solar generation technology.