Solar Rooftop at i2C

i2C is known for ‘Walking the walk’ when it comes to sustainability and commitment to our office environments having focused on office improvements in the areas of energy efficiency, biophilic design, and onsite renewable energy generation – not to mention all the fantastic community and social initiatives such as our composting scheme and community engagement activities.

The Melbourne office was the first project in Victoria to be listed on the International Living Future Institutes Biophilic Design map delivering a healthy, connected, collaborative space for the Melbourne team.

i2C has been demonstrating energy efficiency through the use of solar tube lighting throughout the meeting rooms and bathrooms within the office maximising the use of natural daylight as opposed to artificial lighting for both energy efficiency and team wellbeing benefits whilst also researching into energy management and air quality improvements.

The roof top solar installation was the next big step demonstrating our commitment to moving away from fossil fuels and embracing our ability to generate renewable energy whilst collating data on both energy generation and use to enable behavioural change and energy efficiency optimisation within the offices. The installation needed to make economic sense and whilst supporting our growing sustainability goals.

Solar energy is a clean and environmentally friendly energy source. Converting sun lighting into electricity has grown exponentially over the last decade and with the growth of the market and competition we have seen considerable improvements in both price and quality of solar photovoltaic panels.

On an average month in the peak of summer here in Melbourne we are generating approximately 80% of the energy we are using. When the office is quiet over the weekend the surplus energy we generate is being pumped back into the grid and we are happily earning a few extra dollars.

The driving force behind installing the solar panels on the roof of our office building in Collingwood was to increase the available power supply to the building after the power authority defaulted on a contractual deal to supply additional power to the building.

Our proposal based on research and discussions with contractors, was to add a substantial 160sqm of solar panelling that would equate to an overall increase of 40-50%  in power availability to the building over and above the power supplied from the electrical grid.

Brian Jende Managing Director

2019 Energy Production Report

STATS AND FACTS

Total system size: 33kW

Monthly carbon offset: 7,560.0 lbs

Number of panels: 100 x 330w LG NeON2 panels with Enphase s270 Micro Inverters

PV Surface Area: 160m2 (1.6m2 x 100 panels)

Estimated annual output: 48.81 MWh

Estimated annual savings: $1,700

Payback period: 5.3 years

ABOUT LUMENAUS

Lumenaus Solar and Battery Systems specialises in high quality commercial solar product procurement, detailed solar design and financial modelling based on the needs of their clients such as i2C Architects

After analysing i2C’s Collingwood studio’s historical 12 months of 30 minute interval electricity data, it was established that we would need to take advantage of all available roof space for the solar panels. This would achieve a significant reduction in the site’s grid electricity consumption, whilst keeping in mind the company’s future needs in respect to the vacant lower floor which would be open for expansion in the short term

The solar design itself takes full advantage of the north facing roof naturally, as well as the east facing roof which is subject to some shading from the north roof peak by the late afternoon westerly sun.

We also added multiple solar arrays on the south facing roof, mounted on double tilt mounts to allow us to angle those panels to the due north whilst leaving space for the existing skylights.

With somewhat limited roof space and some shade on the east roof, we selected the Enphase Micro Inverters to be added to the Premium LG Solar Panels to minimize shading losses in the late afternoon, but also because the Micro Inverters have a low start-up voltage and maximise the solar energy yield from each individual solar panel, which can be monitored from the client web and app portal

We are confident that we have installed an optimal solar pv system in terms of yield by using the higher end products which have proven to outperform other high end panels by up to 8% in field testing, in addition to providing i2C with the confidence of LG’s 25 year product warranty compared to the industry standard of 10 years. The LG solar panels also degrade by only 0.35% annually compared to the industry standard of 0.7%, maintaining highest possible yield over the long term is a priority we value.

It  was important that Lumenaus Solar could provide the best possible outcome whilst remaining cashflow positive from day one and this was achieved with a low interest renewable energy finance facility by Verdia, part of the Westpac Group which takes advantage of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation 0.7% discounted rate for project of this nature

We are pleased that our solar design and financial modelling has proved to be accurate to date and i2C is enjoying the many benefits which come from having a quality, well designed solar pv system, now and well into the future for years to come.

 

Claire Bowles

BA (Hons) Business Management, MSc Strategic Project Management

Sustainability Lead and Consultant

View Claire’s profile here