ARENA funding for relocatable rooftop solar trial


Friday, 19 April, 2019


ARENA funding for relocatable rooftop solar trial

Australian start-up Solpod has received $975,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to trial installing redeployable rooftop solar on commercial and government buildings.

Solpod has developed a way of fixing prefabricated commercial-scale solar panels to roofing using a redeployable racking and mounting system, meaning they can be relocated. The ‘pods’ of 12 panels (4.56 kW per pod) are craned into position and fixed with industrial-strength adhesive, with each pod taking about 10 minutes to install. 

In partnership with ERM Power, the company will install nearly 2.5 MW worth of its portable systems at 25 sites across Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Each site will have up to 100 kW of solar PV.

GPT has turned on three of 10 installations — Parkmore, Highpoint and Norton Plaza Shopping Centres — and Property NSW will roll out 10 installations in NSW in 2019.

“Despite rooftop solar being cheaper and more sustainable than the grid, many businesses have made the rational decision to not adopt solar because of other factors such as length of commitment, disruption on site and damage to buildings,” said Solpod founder and CEO James Larratt.

He described the pods as a “game changer” offering businesses that rent their premises short-term contracts, while landlords have the flexibility to change sites without damaging the roof.

“Solpod is industrialising the installation of rooftop solar. Rather than individually assembling every panel, bolt, nut and cable on a customer’s roof over many weeks, Solpod assembles pods in a quality-controlled factory and minimises our time on site. Solpod enables businesses to benefit now from rooftop solar without having to make long-term commitments to the property or be stuck with outdated equipment for decades,” said Larratt.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said they open up new markets for rooftop solar installation.

“This Australian start-up will help to accelerate solar PV innovation and allows for renewable energy alternatives in niche markets, providing a cost-competitive alternative to standard methods of fixed mounting for delivering rooftop grid-connected solar PV.”

ERM Power predicts that Solpod could double the scale of 100 kW–5 MW commercial solar installations in Australia from 113 MW in 2018 to closer to 250 MW by 2021. CEO Jon Stretch said the pods could also impact the way large-scale commercial solar energy is rolled out globally.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Scanrail

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