10,000 commercial solar panel rollout for Australian bottling giant

Energy services company Verdia will manage a 10,000 solar panel rollout across the bottling operations of Coca-Cola Amatil continuing the record breaking organisation of rooftop solar panels in the Australian commercial and industrial sector.

The 3.5-megawatt solar PV system will be installed across three sites in three different states over the next eight to ten months, helping to cut Coca-Cola Amatil’s annual energy costs by up to $1.3 million.

Verdia CEO Paul Peters said Verdia would be installing enough solar panels to cover 42 average suburban blocks, making it one of the largest roof-top programs in the country.

“This is one of the biggest rooftop programs in the country. We’re installing enough solar panels to cover 42 average suburban blocks,” Mr Peters said

“By mid next year, Coca-Cola Amatil will be drawing around 14% less energy from the local electricity grid across these three sites,” Mr Peters said.

“The installations will provide solar energy to Amatil and will see a reduction of 4,163 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year.”

Visualisation of solar panels at CCA’s Eastern Creek facility

Coca-Cola Amatil Managing Director for Australian Beverages, Peter West said the investment made sense both commercially and environmentally.

“On current figures the installation will pay for itself in six to seven years and is expected to provide an additional $14 million benefit over its lifetime,” Mr West said

“We’re also committed to obtaining at least 60 per cent of our energy needs from renewable and low-carbon sources, by 2020.”

“So, this installation is a win-win for us, and congratulations to the team at Verdia for helping make it a reality.”

Time lapse footage of solar panels at CCA’s Richlands facility

Verdia completed site inspections, electrical connection investigations, engineering designs and financial modelling as part of the scoping work for the project. It will then manage more than 50 contractors and suppliers working across New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia to fast track the project delivery. Verdia will continue to monitor and maintain the systems.

Coca-Cola Amatil Solar Program

The Coca-Cola Amatil project is part of an estimated 68MW of behind-the-meter solar PV systems being developed and installed by Verdia across Australia. This covers the property, manufacturing, agribusiness, government, education and the health and aged care sectors.

Rooftop solar installations across Commercial and Industrial sector in Australia

Under the Verdia model, projects are fast tracked via a network of about 100 pre-qualified and accredited contractors, suppliers and manufactures.

Earlier this year, the Australian Clean Energy Regulator predicted a five-fold increase in the number of accredited Commercial and Industrial sized solar power station projects across Australia in 2018. It classified the C&I systems as those between 100 kilowatt and one megawatt capacity.

It expected a total of 500 accredited behind-the-meter solar projects with a total 100-megawatt capacity this year.

At the same time, Green Energy Markets reported that the growth in roof top solar PV in the Commercial and Industrial sector had eclipsed the growth in the residential sector. This matched other predictions that Australian Commercial and Industrial businesses would install more than one gigawatt of ground and roof mounted solar PV systems in 2018.

Mr Peters said the growth could be partly attributed to large increases in the wholesale price of power between 2015 and 2017, the declining cost of solar PV, and the increasing desire of large businesses to take control of energy costs, protect against volatile electricity prices and improve their environmental sustainability.

Key project facts

  • Expected number of solar panels – 10,077
  • Area of panels equal to – 2 hectares, 42 average suburban blocks or 76.5 tennis courts
  • Annual reduction in carbon emissions – 4,163 tonnes
  • Carbon emission savings equivalent to – 2,337 cars taken off Australian roads, 1.7 million litres of petrol burnt
  • Equivalent to carbon sequestered by 14 acres of forest (global average)