The world’s first re-locatable solar pods can be a potential game changer for solar installers on the Gold Coast that install the renewable energy source on commercial rooftops. A major barrier to solar investment in some properties is the inability to relocate the traditional solar panels once they have been installed.
According to Steve Ford, head of sustainability and energy group of GPT Group, thousands of businesses are reticent in investing in solar installations that have a lifetime of 25 years because their leases are shorter or they have future plans of site redevelopment and other legitimate concerns. Solpod offers new flexible opportunities and business models so that hurdles can be overcome in the commercial solar uptake.
The pre-fabricated, 5kW Solpods are made from premium 72-cell solar panel. It is framed and raised on legs at an angle for easy cleaning. Installation of the solar panels requires a crane and adhesives to affix them to the roof. One panel takes as little as 10 minutes to be installed. Commercial scale installation of Solpods will only require days to achieve generation instead of weeks. Installation is non-invasive because it does not require drilling or clamping.
The potential of Solpod is recognized by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) because it provides cost competitive option to standard methods of fixed mounting. It will also help in accelerating solar PV innovations. ARENA has provided $975,000 for Solpod installation on a 25-site demonstration program. Some of the installations have begun to generate. The installations in New South Wales and Victoria will be completed this year.
2.5 MW of Solpod solar PVs are going to be mounted at sites that include 10 that are owned by commercial property group GPT and 10 NSW government properties. Solpod’s concept of a mobile and easily deployable solar is definitely worth pursuing for established companies.
After the solar installers on the Gold Coast have completed installation and the system has become operational, solar energy will be free to produce. The energy that will be received from solar will offset the electricity being received from the grid; hence reducing the electricity bills as well as the carbon footprints.