Solar Power Takes Flight

Adelaide Airport's rooftop solar system is now online.

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Australia’s largest private sector solar system project is now online.

Installed at Adelaide Airport on the roof of the short-term parking installation, 4,500 solar panels covering an area of 8,000 m2 will produce 1.17MW, just under 10% of the airport’s energy needs.

Adelaide Airport Solar Car Park

As well as reducing greenhouse emissions and overall energy consumption, the project will offset 100% of the car park’s electricity consumption.
Best estimates indicate that the energy it produces could power 300 domestic homes for a year.

The company behind the Adelaide Airport project is the Solgen Energy Group, headquartered in Sydney.

They claim the installation “offsets 2,400 tonnes of emissions annually. That is the equivalent CO2 emissions produced by 358 passenger vehicles in a year.”

Solgen Energy Director, David Naismith, said the project was further proof that solar power will be crucial to the energy mix of any business moving forward, “irrespective of industry.”

“Working within Adelaide Airport’s site constraints, we engineered a bespoke solution to solve the delicate balance of optimising power output,” he said, “while delivering a robust business case.”

Solgen was able to install the necessary technological infrastructure into a single room on top of the car park, thus preserving valuable space for consumer use.

The project is the first time in Australia that the SMA’s Sunny Tripower 60 inverter has been used. Inverter technology allows the conversion of direct current into an alternating current.

Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Mark Young said the project would both significantly reduce the site’s energy consumption and assist the State Government in achieving its renewable energy targets.

Some reports indicate that by the end of the year the state will reach 50% of its renewable energy goals.

“Earlier this year, we became the first airport in Australia to be recognised by the Global Airport Carbon Accreditation program for optimising our management and reduction of carbon emissions,” Young said.

“Adelaide Airport’s vision is to be a top tier airport business centre in the Asia Pacific region, and further improving our environmental credentials is a key part of this vision.”

In January 2015, the federal government approved a $1 billion upgrade of Adelaide Airport, an expansion that included a major overhaul of the terminal, a new hotel and an office complex.

Solar energy has been in use on the site since 2007.