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Project Summary 
System size259kW
Panel TypeTier 1 Trina Solar Honey M Plus 295W Mono solar modules
InvertersFronius Eco 27.0kW, Fronius Symo 20.0kW
MonitoringFronius Solar Web + CER compliant metering and monitoring for LGC creation
Financial / Environmental Highlights 
Estimated payback period4
Levelised cost of energy (25 years) c/kWhunder 5
First year C02e reduction (kg)202,430

 

ZEN Energy installed a 259kW ZEN solar solution on the roof of Mawson Central, which is owned and operated by Taplin’s Group. The solution is helping Taplin’s lower their operating costs significantly, while also making them more environmentally friendly and sustainable for the future.

About the Project

Since a redevelopment in 2013, Mawson Central has added extra vitality to the already popular lakeside suburb of Mawson Lakes in Adelaide’s north. Adjacent to a university campus with over 6,000 students and servicing the daily needs of the growing suburb’s residents, the shopping centre boasts tenants including Woolworths, Bakers Delight, and BWS to name but a few.

Thanks to its 259kW, 877-panel solar energy solution expertly designed and installed by ZEN Energy, Mawson Central and its owner Taplin’s Real Estate, are well on the way to providing a more sustainable shopping experience for their tenants and customers while lowering the centre’s impact on the environment.

Installing the Project

When looking to install solar at Mawson Central prominent local property developer, Andrew Taplin, wanted to be sure he was choosing the right company to trust with his shopping centre’s energy needs. After receiving presentations from a number of companies, Andrew decided none quite compared to the package from ZEN Energy.

“There were many reasons I chose ZEN, the first was that from the outset, ZEN was much more professional in terms of its presentation and in terms of its submission. The submission was very comprehensive, normally I’m chasing people for answers, but the submission presentation answered everything in one hit.”

In an industry that can be notorious for unreliable solar providers, Andrew also did his own checks and balances on ZEN and was happy with the results.

“To be honest, your reference checks all came back very good, in terms of jobs where you had installed for clients before. Honestly, there are a lot of horror stories out there with some of the other solar companies.

“ZEN came through as a professional group, so those things combined and obviously, the pricing was in line with our expectations, so really, it was a tick, tick and a tick”

How the System Works

ZEN Energy conducted a thorough analysis of the shopping centre’s energy usage patterns to determine the best solution that would not only be technically sound and designed to best suit their needs but also deliver optimal financial benefits to the business.

From the analysis, ZEN designed and installed a 259kW solar solution on the roof of the shopping centre to suit the centre’s energy needs and typical usage patterns. The ZEN solution comprises 877 x 295W solar panels, Fronius Symo and Fronius Eco inverters, and Fronius Solar Web Monitoring to provide ongoing online monitoring of the system for Taplins from anywhere in the world.

Mawson Central has several high-energy consuming tenants, with the largest being Woolworths. By installing a solar solution, the centre is able to reduce its overall baseload grid energy requirements, which translates into big energy savings for Taplins and a reduction in their ongoing operating costs. This model is becoming increasingly popular across the country, as business operators continually look for new ways to manage their energy position as new commercial electricity contracts come through at virtually double their existing rates.

Project Outcomes

Mawson Central is now on track to achieving their goals to become environmentally and economically sustainable, with Taplin’s investment in their ZEN solution estimated to pay itself back in under 4 years, delivering a return on investment of around 25% to the company. Over the estimated 25 year lifespan of the solution, the solution is also expected to generate electricity for the shopping centre at a cost of less than 5c per kilowatt hour, well below grid electricity rates. Using renewable energy direct from the system in lieu of grid electricity will also mean the centre will reduce its carbon footprint by around  200,000 kg of CO2e in its first year alone, which is equivalent to planting approximately 3000 trees annually according to carbonneutral.com.au.

Being a businessman with a long-term vision, Andrew understands the importance of a good investment, and he sees his latest investment in a ZEN solar solution as being just that,

“We are long-term investors, we have a long-term business plan, and it’s the responsible thing to be green, it’s responsible to do your part, but the big responsibility we have is to be sustainable.”

Andrew plans on monitoring the solutions closely to make sure everything it produces is what he expects it to produce, in terms of energy through the panels.

“We need to have our investments where it’s sustainable for occupancy costs for tenants and businesses, we need it to be sustainable for our shareholders, our family members that need to get a return and so our next stage as I’ve said in the short term is just to measure to make sure it all operates and then we want to look at further purchases for appropriate sites.

But Andrew also isn’t wasting time on confirming the next round of solar energy investments with ZEN.

“We’ve just placed an order for another system on one of our properties on Jetty Road in Glenelg… we’re hoping the flow will continue.”

Overall, Andrew was overjoyed with his ZEN Energy experience.

“If 10 was excellent to outstanding, ZEN definitely scores a 10. I don’t like recommending people, but I’d actually recommend ZEN”

“I’ve had solar installations prior to meeting ZEN, and if I ranked you at a 10, I’d probably rank the others at 5 or 5 and a half.”

Feature image courtesy of Luxe Bathware – http://www.luxebathware.com.au/sa.html 

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