UTS’ innovative model to unlock more local solar

Solar roof panels (rooftop australia new)
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The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is nearing completion in its project to install a 1000kW rooftop solar system across the business park where it leases space for its cutting-edge Tech Lab facility.

The project involves 2500 solar panels and will produce around 1400MWh a year, enough to power 255 average NSW homes.

UTS has a 23-year rooftop licence with business park manager Dexus to install and own the solar power system. Output will supply UTS Tech Lab, and export to the grid to meet local demand.

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UTS green infrastructure project manager Jonathan Prendergast said the innovative rooftop project in Botany shows a new way to develop and finance solar power at a time when NSW urgently needs more energy generation.

“All those times you’ve flown in or out of Sydney Airport, over the top of all those sprawling warehouse roofs—they are solar farms just waiting to happen. Solar is now cost effective enough that it can be installed on Sydney rooftops as power stations, not just for reducing demand of the host,” Prendergast said.

He said that while Australia is a world leader in the uptake of rooftop solar, it’s not possible in every situation.

“Our CBDs, for example, are full of high-rise buildings and limited roof space, with high energy demand. Often tenants find getting solar on their rooftops limited due to complex negotiations with the landlord or short-term leasing,” Prendergast said.

“We have always had to innovate to find solutions to go solar. Although UTS is a tenant in Botany, we’ve reached a long-term agreement with Dexus to cover all available roof space in the Dexus development with solar panels.”

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Dexus general manager group sustainability Rob Sims said, “Dexus is excited to support UTS on its decarbonisation journey, transforming our Lord Street roof space into an urban power station. Partnering with our customers on renewable energy is one of the ways we are progressing our own science-based target, where collaboration is the key to achieving value chain decarbonisation and better environmental and social outcomes for our customers and communities.”

Prendergast said UTS has been developing rooftop and offsite solar systems for nearly 10 years to help meet its goals of being a renewable-powered university and reducing emissions. The university has maximised rooftop solar on buildings at the main campus in Ultimo and the Haberfield Rowers, home to UTS Rowing Club, and signed contracts with solar farms at Singleton and Orange.

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