Interested in distributed energy technology solutions? New guide describes features, costs and benefits

Author Matthew Sprague

Date September 2018

Interest in clean energy solutions continues to grow as business seeks not only cost and sustainability benefits, but greater control over energy use. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Property Council of Australia (PCA) have recognised these benefits and the role clean energy can play in reducing national emissions; especially in the property sector which has a large abatement potential. However, to date the take up has been uneven.  Barriers include the evolving nature of clean energy technologies, a lack of understanding of their features, and split incentives between owners and tenants.

Commissioned by the CEFC and PCA and written by Energetics, Distributed energy in the property sector – today’s opportunities, has been launched to help energy users understand the features, applications and payback periods of nine different technology types including solar PV, heat pumps, thermal storage and batteries.

Some of the findings highlighted by the CEFC include:

  • While investment costs for large-scale commercial and retail properties can exceed $100,000, in the case of solar PV the payback period is four years.
  • The highest upfront investment costs, potentially more than $500,000, included thermal storage installations for commercial, retail and industrial buildings, can substantially reduce exposure to peak electricity prices. The payback period of 15 years or less complements the relatively long lives of these large-scale and complex structures.

The guide steps through the range of financing options that are available to support implementation and discusses offsite energy supply solutions through corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). The number of these deals has grown dramatically in Australia since 2016. The features offered under different PPA structures are explained and the steps energy users in the property sector should take when exploring this opportunity.

14 short case studies can also be seen throughout the guide of distributed energy solutions currently in place and delivering results.

Examples include a $3 million drop in annual electricity charges for Queensland’s James Cook University following the installation of thermal storage, and an 11 per cent fall in annual power consumption at Sydney Markets, which boasts Australia’s largest private sector rooftop solar array on a single site. Woolworths’ rooftop installations offset around 13% of a store’s annual energy consumption. Domino’s Pizza, Plumpton NSW, installed a 135kWh lithium-ion battery system to augment power supply at approximately half of the cost of a grid upgrade. Recently City of Sydney launched its first large-scale solar PV and battery storage facility at its Alexandra Canal depot, with the aim of reducing demand during peak times, cutting energy costs and supporting the City of Sydney’s renewable energy target. An aged care facility is meeting up to half its hot water needs with a solar hot water system and Monash University is on track to substantially cut its gas consumption thanks to new energy efficient heat pumps.

Energetics is proud to have put this guide together.  If you have any questions, please speak to the author or any of our experts.

Learn more
Webinar: Wednesday 10 October, 10.30am - 11.30am
Hosted by Chris Wade, Director Corporate and Project Finance CEFC, the webinar's presenters are Matt Sprague, Energetics who will discuss the report's findings, together with Michael Shelley from Woolworths and Dr Kendra Wasiluk from Monash University who will provide insights into their distributed energy technology solutions.  Click here for registration details