Australia’s Largest Airport Solar Installation Achieves Practical Completion

BRISBANE (10 May 2019) - The solar system for Brisbane Airport Corporation has now officially come online. Whilst Australia’s largest commercial and industrial solar system has been operational since end of 2018, Epho Pty Ltd - the design and construction company responsible for this project - announced today that the systems reached practical completion including all approvals from authorities.

“This 5.725MW installation is the largest airport solar deployment in Australia and shows that Australia is truly at the forefront globally of such large-scale commercial installations,” says Epho’s Managing Director Dr Oliver Hartley.

Epho Commercial Solar Power, a leading Australian engineering, procurement and construction firm, collaborated with Trina Solar, the world’s leading provider of total energy solutions; and Shakra Energy, Epho’s development partner.

“The 20,937 solar panels used in this project were spread across six sites at the airport – some were ground mounted solar panels and others were rooftop mounted. If you lay the 20,937 solar panels flat, they take up more than twice the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” says Axel La Toison, Senior Project Manager at Epho. Trina Solar provided the panels for five of the six sites.

“Brisbane Airport is the most challenging project we have done, but it puts us in good stead for other airport and large commercial & industrial solar projects in future as we have experience dealing with the various authorities.” 

“For this large-scale commercial project, we had to deal with many different stakeholders, some of whom may not be so familiar with the solar industry and solar installation. Commercial airports have restricted areas, so bringing in equipment and personnel created its own unique challenges. We had to be very responsive when dealing with the various stakeholders’ unique requirements with regards to: safety and security, height restrictions, aesthetics, etc.”

One of the unique characteristics of this project was the amount of cabling involved. “At Brisbane Airport, we installed over 200km of cables and built many substations to ensure the electrical infrastructure was suitable,” adds La Toison.

Brisbane Airport’s energy consumption peaks during the day when the solar installation is also performing at its peak output.

“This is another reason why solar energy is a natural choice for airports and other commercial and industrial enterprises,” says Dr Hartley.

One of the unique requirements that airports have is for the solar panels to have minimal glare. “In this instance, we came up with solutions that were in line with international best practices. This instilled confidence in the Australian civil aviation authority, because they knew we were committed to safety on all matters regarding the installation,” says La Toison. 

“We chose Trina Solar as our main module supplier because they are known for providing high-quality modules.”

“Trina Solar also helped us significantly in the bidding process. Trina Solar has a proven track record and investment-grade bankability,” he adds.

Trina Solar country sales manager, Govind Kant, says for the Brisbane Airport project, the company supplied its Trina Solar Honey TSM-PD05 panels, which have an anti-glare coating that meets the requirements of aviation regulators.

Kant says: “Solar energy is very worthwhile for airports, because adopting solar is in line with the worldwide push, by organizations such as Airports Council International, to reduce airports’ carbon footprint. Airports can reduce their dependence on the electricity grid considerably because they generally have a lot of land and rooftop space where solar panels can be installed.” 

Kant says Trina Solar was able to meet Epho’s delivery schedule. He also says Epho did its own quality assurance tests of the product, prior to installation, and was very pleased with the results, as the Trina Solar panels clearly met the high standards required. 

Dr Hartley highlights “it is wonderful to see that so many large corporations are now embracing solar power in order to achieve commercial benefits as well as contributing to a better environment. We, at Epho, are proud to play a pivotal part in this development.”

(Photo: 5.725MW solar installation at Brisbane Airport became the largest airport solar deployment in Australia)