Australia's best solar installations announced

The Clean Energy Council announced winners of the 2017 Solar Design and Installation Awards at the recent All-Energy Australia exhibition and conference in Melbourne.

The Clean Energy Council’s executive general manager of installation integrity, Sandy Atkins, said the winners demonstrated the excellence that the council has come to expect from the Australian solar industry.

“This year’s winners range from Australia’s largest solar car park shading system to a small installation at a suburban public park, but all involved novel solutions to overcome a unique set of challenges,” Atkins said.

“The standard of entries in this year’s awards was particularly high, making the job of selecting the winners extremely tough for the judging panel of independent solar industry experts. I thank all those who took the time to submit an entry to the 2017 Solar Design and Installation Awards.”

Winners were announced across four categories: Under 30 kW — grid connect; Under 30 kW — grid connect with battery backup; 30–240 kW; and Over 240 kW.

Under 30 kW — grid connect

John David O’Brien and Jason Hua from Suntrix designed and installed a 15 kW system at the Booran Road Reserve public park in Melbourne. This installation powers the amenities at a former water reservoir that has been turned into a public park. The system is mounted on the wall of the original reservoir, making the best use of the available space while preserving the site’s historical legacy.

Under 30 kW — grid connect with battery backup

Stuart Bruce and Dean Edmonds from Solaray Energy installed a 30 kW solar panel system at the heritage-listed Stucco Housing Co-Operative for low-income students in Sydney. The installation included 36 batteries to provide renewable energy to the 40 residents of the co-op. It is expected to reduce the energy costs of more than 1000 low-income students over its lifetime.

30–240 kW

Marcus Lim, working with Lean Energy, installed a 162 kW system at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus. The system will be used to collect data on the best designs for commercial solar systems. Dubbed the Rooftop Solar Lab, the installation will compare the performance of various solar design alternatives to find the best option for any given application.

Over 240 kW

Matthew Linney and Peter Cook, working with Autonomous Energy, installed a 1.1 MW solar car park shading system at the University of Southern Queensland. The installation is said to be the largest solar car park shading system in Australia and will generate approximately $1 million in annual electricity savings and large-scale generation certificate revenue for the university.

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