The Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is investing in a solar PV 6MW system, consisting of 22,000 rooftop panels capable of generating more than 9,315,000 kilowatt hours a year.

The system, spanning an area of 36,000 meters squared, 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 rooftop solar panel installation at an Australian airport and BNE, and the largest commercial rooftop solar system in the Southern Hemisphere.

More than 200kms of cabling will be used for the installation, equivalent to driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back.

Epho, an Australian commercial solar company specialising in serving Australian businesses with solar energy solutions, collaborated with Managing Director of Shakra Energy, Sam Khalil.

Shakra Energy is the developer of commercial and large-scale solar plants and the party that assembled the team for the bid. Sam Khalil will be on the steering committee to ensure an efficient and effective development of the solar development.

Oliver Hartley, Epho Managing Director, said the BAC project is not only the biggest commercial solar installation in the Southern Hemisphere, it is also one of the more complex given the live environment of the airport.

“To win this project, Epho had to demonstrate superiority in project management, stakeholder management, engineering, operations, and work health and safety.

“The introduction of such a significant solar system is a prime example of how BAC is adopting world-leading technologies in harmony with its sustainability focus,” Mr Hartley said.

Krishan Tangri, BAC General Manager Assets, said electricity 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 program in place resulting in the completion of 40 projects which collectively save more than 8GWh per year.

“We are in the enviable position of having thousands of square metre of unimpeded 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 per cent of BAC’s direct electricity consumption, or six per cent 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,” Mr Tangri said.

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.

Design of the system is currently underway with installation beginning in December 2017 and completion expected in August 2018.

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