Take-Up of Solar by Commercial Sector Skyrockets


Developers and commercial property owners of all sizes are embracing solar as an integral component of new developments and property upgrades.

From industrial premises to retail outlets, solar is booming with leading solar solutions provider Energus reporting a 20 per cent increase in installations in 2020, which has continued into 2021.

Initially fuelled by the desire to offset rapidly increasing electricity prices during the past six years, solar has become the norm in any new development.

Big players such as Dexus, Frasers and Stockland have announced exciting new projects in Eastern Creek and Central Station among others. Corporates such as Atlassian and Amazon are just a few of the large companies which have recently announced developments incorporating solar.

However, mid-scale players are also getting on board to meet tenants’ demands for lower energy prices and to enable them to meet their sustainability objectives.

Tenant Motion Asia Pacific, an industrial engineering distribution group in Chullora, NSW with 1600 employees across 14 core businesses obtained landlord approval to install solar with Energus at their head office, saving $27,000 per year in power bills. On the back of this, they are planning a nation-wide solar fit out.

Tier one electrical contractor STAR Group, with more than 400 employees, chose Energus for its installation at its head office in Condell Park, NSW, which will offset more than 100 tonnes of carbon annually and save more than $25,000pa.

▲ Dexus’ North Shore Health Hub development is among major projects to adopt solar.
▲ Dexus’ North Shore Health Hub development is among major projects to adopt solar.

STAR Group has delivered a wide range of important projects including Crown Resort Sydney, Northern Beaches Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital and PACNET Data Centre Sydney among others. With their clients focussing on sustainability, STAR Group cites this as a critical driver in their own decision to invest in solar.

“By investing in solar, the value of these properties is increasing significantly and at the same time they are generating increased rental returns,“ said Thomas Bell, sales director, Energus.

“We are regularly being approached by landlords and developers who know that they need to invest in solar to obtain the best rental returns from their property.

“In a competitive marketplace, it’s important for them to be able to meet tenants’ demands.

“Transitioning to solar also frees up funds to enable property owners to invest elsewhere in their property portfolio.”

With payback periods plummeting to as little as two years, family-owned Cooks Confectionery saw solar as a no-brainer. The production of chocolate is a high user of energy, with the need to refine it for 10 to 12 hours with motors on for the same amount of time and heaters working for 24 hours.

Cooks managing director Daniel Lezcano said that even with the introduction of a second shift and operations spanning from 6 am to 10 pm, the company’s energy bill stayed the same when they installed solar on the roof of their 1000 sq m property in Albion Park, NSW. The company effectively doubled production at no extra cost.

Accessing solar energy at $0.02/kw compared to $0.12/ kw from traditional power is clearly a win/win for developers, landlords and tenants.

The move to solar not only has an impact on a company’s bottom line, it also enables them to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their corporate social responsibility objectives.

Planning for a greener future is all part of the move to net carbon zero by 2050 which is rapidly gaining traction in Australia and overseas.

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