Landlords, Tenants Fuel Record Growth in Commercial Solar


While renewable energy missed out in the Federal Budget, commercial property owners of all sizes are rapidly embracing solar, says solar solutions provider Energus, who has seen a 20 per cent uptake in commercial installations during the past year.

With payback periods plummeting to less than two years, property owners are realising that they can save with the sun and invest the savings in other improvements in their portfolio.

Accessing solar energy at $0.02/kw compared to $0.12/kw from traditional power is a win/win for the owner and tenant.

Properties with solar increase more in value and generate higher rental yields with a better quality of tenant who not only wishes to manage their energy costs, but who is committed to meeting sustainability goals.

One tenant doing just this is Motion Asia Pacific, an industrial engineering distribution group in Chullora, NSW with 1600 employees across 14 core businesses and 180 branches.

They lease their premises and obtained landlord approval to install solar, saving $27,000 per year in power bills, equivalent to vacuuming 364 rugby fields during a year.

On the back of this result, they are now actively planning a nation-wide solar rollout.

The installation is not only having an impact on the company’s bottom line, it is also enabling them to reduce their carbon footprint, meet their corporate social responsibility objectives and plan for a greener future.

Energus’ sales director Thomas Bell said that an increasing number of owners of properties of all sizes, including SMEs who own their property, are also rapidly transitioning to solar as it is freeing up funds, allowing them to innovate and invest the savings elsewhere in their business.

Family-owned Cooks Confectionery, one of Australia’s leading confectionery companies, which produces premium quality chocolate, toffee and nut products for wholesalers and retail outlets, is also reaping the benefits of a solar installation.

Based in Albion Park, NSW, Cooks moved to its current site in 2004 and expanded to include a toffee plant and chocolate facility. The production of chocolate is a high user of energy with the need to refine it for 10-12 hours, with motors on for the same amount of time and heaters working 24 hours.

Cooks managing director Daniel Lezcano said that given the size of their power bill, it was a no-brainer to look at installing solar on the roof of their 1000sq m property.

The company reached out to a number of providers and chose Energus on the basis of price and its strong track record.

“We were very pleased to see that the huge reduction in energy costs enabled the company to double its shifts,” Bell said.

“Even with the introduction of the second shift and operations spanning from 6am to 10pm, the company’s energy bill stayed the same, thereby saving them $10,000 per quarter.

“They effectively doubled production at no extra cost.”

▲ The savings solar created allowed one company to extend its operating hours without increasing its power bill, says Energus.
▲ The savings solar created allowed one company to extend its operating hours without increasing its power bill, says Energus.

The electrical industry’s top players are also on board with the transition to solar energy at the head office in Condell Park of Tier 1 electrical contractor STAR Group.

Operating for more than 60 years with over 400 employees, STAR Group chose Energus for its installation, which is estimated to offset over 100 tonnes of carbon annually and save the company more than $25,000pa.

Specialising in construction, data and communications, high voltage, audio-visual and engineering services, the group has delivered a wide range of significant projects, including Crown Resort Sydney, Northern Beaches Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, and PACNET Data Centre Sydney among others.

Many of these projects focus on sustainability, which the company cites as a critical driver in STAR Group’s decision to convert to solar energy.

Bell said that Energus is being asked to quote on many new construction projects, all of which have solar included in the specifications.

STAR Group has actively communicated the move to solar to its clients and staff and added that many local businesses in the Canterbury-Bankstown area had approached them to inquire about installing their own solar systems.

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