Australian property group Stockland has completed its latest major commercial rooftop installation - officially 'switching on' with their new $2 million, 925kW PV array installed at its Wetherill Park Shopping Centre in Western Sydney.
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Stockland Wetherill Park shopping centre's rooftop solar array

The new array, which was installed by Autonomous Energy, will provide clean, green, renewable energy to the centre and its 210 retailers - consisting of more than 2900 solar PV panels, across a total roof surface area of 5695 square metres. 

On average, the system will generate 3620kWh per day - enough to power 125 homes and 23% of the annual power requirements of the centre, with a target to generate 1,343,178kWh per year.

According to Group executive and CEO of commercial property John Schroder, the group is very excited to celebrate the ‘switch on' of their new solar project at Stockland Wetherill Park, and look forward to continue to roll out more solar installations at all viable centres across their portfolio.

"Our investment in sustainability initiatives like solar not only provide a number of environmental benefits, but also new jobs and financial savings for our retailers," Schroder said.

"We truly believe in the ability for sustainable practices to change the energy landscape in Australia, and this new solar system installation is an important step in that direction within the large-scale commercial property arena."

Stockland Wetherill Park was recently awarded a 5-Star Green Star - Retail Centre Design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), for taking a "sustainable design and development of the multi-million dollar redevelopment completed at the end of last year."

The solar project caps off a $228 million redevelopment of the shopping centre, which also introduced a number of other sustainability initiatives - such as mixed-mode air conditioning, low-energy light fittings, and climate responsive ventilation systems - to help reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The use of rainwater harvested for toilet flushing is also expected to have reduced water consumption by 5kL per day - the equivalent of 111 five-minute showers ever day.

The centre also includes a number of community initiatives, including cycling and shower facilities to encourage locals to walk or ride to the centre, community focussed public art projects, and the first Jamie's Ministry of Food cooking school for NSW. 

"International research has found shopping centres integrating green principles are not only more energy and water-efficient, but can also generate higher sales," Schroder said.

"This coupled with the genuine savings that we can pass onto our retailers further influences the business case for turning green and how it can benefit everyone involved. 

"Stockland is proud to be leading the sector in sustainability and investment in renewable energy."

Schroder adds that Stockland is also proud to have the most Green Star rated shopping centres in the country.

The diversified property company was recognised as the most sustainable real estate company in the world in the 2016-17 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

The Group also achieved Global Sector and Regional Sector Leader status in the 2016 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey in the category Diversified - Retail/Office.