Origin Energy begin installing solar power system at the Royal Australian Mint

Posted 13th July 2015 by Karli Groves

924 solar panels are set to reduce the carbon footprint of the Royal Australian Mint. Origin Energy have recently signed the Royal Australian Mints Canberra facility to a 15 year power purchase agreement, which will see the installation of a 263 kilowatt, 924 panel solar system to be completed over the coming months. The PV system will be located on the roof of the 50 year old heritage nominated building in Deakin, over an area of 900 square meters.

The Mint's rooftop PV system will be one of the largest in Canberra, which will be installed, operated and maintained by Origin Energy, who won the Mints solar tender in April of 2014. The move to solar power by the Mint is in response to the identification of the Mint as being one of the Governments most energy intensive workplaces, despite cutting its energy use by 13 per cent in 2013. The installation of the solar array is capable of producing 1000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per day, which will cut carbon emissions and save the Mint money due to a 3 per cent cut of its annual energy costs.

Indeed, Origin Energy is leading the way in large scale solar power generation in Australia, with plans to construct a 3MW PV system, the largest solar array in the country, on the rooftop of the old Mitsubishi factory in Adelaide. Origin Energy’s managing director Grant King states that the company is “changing its view” on electricity markets and that they are “working hard to understand the economics of utility scale solar in Australia”.

There has generally been a lack of large scale commercial solar generation in Australia, which is favoured by most other countries such as Germany. For this reason, Germany accounts for more than 25 per cent of the worlds installed capacity of solar, compared to that of Australia’s 2.3 per cent despite having the highest solar radiation per square meter of any continent. However, new developments such as the solar arrays on both the Royal Australian Mint and the old Mitsubishi factory are an important step towards the promotion of large scale commercial solar development in Australia. Big business may experience the same benefits that a household would from the installation of solar panels, with Frank Calabria, CEO of Origin Energy stating that “Solar can deliver businesses benefits to both their bottom line and their carbon footprint, and it is great that the Mint is leading the way for big business in Canberra”.

Source: Hewett, J May 2015, “The real future of solar power”, accessed 28th June 2015.

Inman, M October 2014, “Royal Australian Mint targets 230kw-plus solar system”, ACT News, accessed 29th June 2015.

Kelly, M June 2015, “Royal Australian Mint to be covered in 924 solar panels”, ACT News, accessed 29th June 2015.

Parkinson, G February 2015, Renew Economy “Origin Energy to build Australia’s biggest rooftop solar array” accessed 28th June 2015

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