Cairns launch for Australia’s biggest retail solar program

Wind and solar power in QueenslandQueensland solar

Cairns will be the location of the first retail solar project delivered in Australia’s largest ever retail property solar program.

Queensland Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt took to the roof of the Stockland Cairns Shopping Centre to make the announcement.

Stockland will commence work on the $3.4 million solar project at Stockland Cairns in the coming months. The 1.6 MW solar roof installation will comprise 5,200 panels, with each panel weighing 23 kg. It will be the first of 10 projects to be installed nationally.

The Sunshine State becomes the Solar State with retail solar

Mr Pitt welcomed Stockland’s announcement saying the move was a positive shift toward renewable energy.

“Five centres in regional Queensland will see solar panels rolled out across their rooftops adding to the mix of residential and large-scale commercial and industrial solar projects supplying clean and renewable energy,” Mr Pitt said.

“Queensland currently has the highest installed capacity of rooftop solar panels in Australia and one of the highest penetration rates of anywhere in the world. So it makes sense to have a big part of this project here in the Sunshine State, particularly in Cairns.”

Retail solar: Rooftop solar arrays like this one are powering shopping centres across the country.

Retail solar: Rooftop solar arrays like this one are powering shopping centres across the country.

Queensland Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said this was further evidence that the Sunshine State was turning into the Solar State.

“We’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020,” Mr Bailey said.

The Cairns installation forms part of a broader $23.5 million national investment in solar by Stockland. It will install more than 39,000 solar PV panels across ten retail centres.

Combined, the national project is expected to produce 17.2 GWh of energy every year.

Shopping centres across Australia adopt solar energy

The Cairns project is part of a push by Queensland shopping centres to install solar panels.

The Pines, Elanora is a major shopping complex situated in Elanora on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The complex features three major supermarkets and more than 80 stores.

In partnership with Energy Matters, The Pines installed Australia’s largest single solar car park structure. It’s more than triple the size of the next largest rooftop car park solar plant in Australia.

The huge PV array consists of 2,051 x 310-Watt solar panels with a combined capacity of 636kWp.