Community-funded solar project at Sydney convention centre

Monday, 18 May, 2015 | Supplied by: Canadian Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd

Community-funded solar project at Sydney convention centre

An innovative sustainability initiative will see the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) become home to the first community-funded solar energy project of its kind in Australia.

Due to open in December 2016, ICC Sydney is being developed through a public-private partnership (PPP) with the NSW Government and Darling Harbour Live (comprising Lend Lease, HOSTPLUS, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless). The roof of the venue will be home to one of Australia’s largest solar arrays within a central business district.

Canadian Solar was selected to provide the 520 kW PV system after offering a turnkey solution which included Quartech-Next Generation PV panels, micro-inverters and innovative rooftop mounting structure. The company’s deployment expertise and experience were also crucial to its appointment.

“The solar array will produce enough for approximately 5% of the energy required for the facilities, which is equivalent to powering more than 100 homes every year,” said Darling Harbour Live General Manager David Lovell.

Members of the public can buy shares in the social venture that will own the solar array, Sydney Renewable Power Company. Lovell stated, “The social venture allows people to participate in funding renewable energy and is another way we can engage with the local community.”

According to Lovell, the solar energy project is “only one of the ways we are creating a socially responsible and environmentally sensitive convention, exhibition and entertainment hub”. The venue is expected to operate with optimal resource efficiency because of smart design strategies integrated with cost-efficient and renewable technologies.

“During construction we have a target of 90% material diversion of waste to landfill, and we have already exceeded that target in the demolition phase,” said Lovell. Other goals include a 75% operational waste recycling target; over 15% reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions to 2012 NCC minimum requirements; and a 14% reduction in potable water use.

Additionally, the precinct will feature more public space and improved pedestrian connections. Lovell said, “A renewed and upgraded public domain will see a reconfiguration of Tumbalong Park, providing an additional 3000 m2 of green space as well as a new adaptable event space capable of hosting up to 27,000 people.

“A new pedestrian boulevard will connect the harbourfront to the south and Central Station,” he continued. “In addition, new and improved access links will better connect the student precinct of the University of Technology, Sydney in Ultimo and the media and arts hub of neighbouring Pyrmont, as well as the city centre.”

The project is the first Australian convention and exhibition facility registered with the US Green Building Council for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The project is targeting Gold certification.

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