The 6MW system, consisting of 22,000 panels spanning an area of 36,000 meters squared or more than twice the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), will be installed across six sites at Brisbane Airport (BNE).
Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal alone will support 1.98MW with 7,133 panels covering more than 11,675 square metres, making it the largest single roof top solar panel installation at an Australian airport and BNE and the largest commercial roof top solar system in the Southern Hemisphere.
More than 200kms of cabling will be used for the install, equivalent to driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back.
Krishan Tangri, BAC's general manager for assets, says that delectricity is one of the biggest expenses to running Brisbane Airport with dozens of large buildings requiring cool, lighting and heating 24 hours a days, 365 days a year.
“We are acutely aware of the increasing energy needs of running a major airport and, since 2012, we’ve had an extensive energy reduction programme in place resulting in the completion of 40 projects which collectively save more than 8 GWh per year," notes Tangri.
“We are in the enviable position of having thousands of square metre of un-impeded roof space ideal for solar harvesting and, with systems becoming more efficient and more affordable to install, it makes financial sense to invest in this readily available supply of renewable energy to save costs and decrease our carbon footprint.
“Once fully operational, the new system will account for 18% of BAC’s direct electricity consumption, or 6% of our total consumption, further complementing the savings we’re making through air conditioning control optimisation, lighting control upgrades and LED technology within BAC buildings, car parks and street lighting."
The solar energy generated per year is equivalent to powering over 1,700 Australian homes for a year, with carbon offset equal to planting over 50,000 trees or taking 1,500 cars off the road each year.
Epho, an Australian commercial solar company specialising in serving Australian businesses with solar energy solutions, collaborated with Shakra Energy on the project.
Design of the system is currently underway with installation commencing from December 2017 and completion expected in August 2018.