In 2017, it was announced that Brisbane Airport will receive a solar panel project to be installed across six sites at the airfield. It comprised of 22,937 solar panels which collectively covered 36,000 square meters. Some of the solar panels were mounted on the ground while others were set to be installed on the building roofs such as the international terminal.
The largest single roof installation
At the time, the international terminal roof installation was the largest single roof installation in Australia with 7,133 panels that measured 11,675 square metres. The solar installation was estimated to be around $11 million but once installed it saved the airport around $1 million on electricity costs per annum.
It was also estimated that the installations would be able to supply 18% of the direct electricity needs of the airport. The carbon offset was tremendous and equivalent of taking 1,500 cars from the road per annum or planting 50,000 trees.
Authorities signed off on approvals
It took a year to complete and the solar panels have been in operation since the end of 2018. However, a recent statement, in May 2019, from the senior project manager said that the solar project reached practical completion. This means that all authorities have signed their approval of the installation which includes all security and safety, aesthetics, height restrictions and more.
As the single largest Australian airport installation at 5.725MW, it was an excellent learning experience that could lead the way for other large industrial and commercial solar projects in the near future.
Solar energy is the natural choice for industrial and commercial enterprises and airports, especially in light of energy consumption that peak during the day, which is also when solar performs at its peak output.
Airports are ideal for solar installations because of the more than adequate land space available and multitudes of rooftop space for multiple solar installations and at the same time reduce the dependence on the electricity grid.