Design and construction company Epho is celebrating the “practical completion” of the solar panels project at Brisbane Airport.
First announced in October 2017, the project comprised 22,937 solar panels that were installed at six sites across the airfield.
Collectively, the solar panels covered an area of 36,000 square metres. Some were on roofs, such as at the international terminal, while others were mounted on the ground.
The roof of the international terminal alone was fitted with about 7,133 panels measuring 11,675 square metres, which Brisbane Airport said at the time would be the largest single roof top solar panel installation at an Australian airport.
The airport estimated in 2017 that the solar panels would supply about 18 per cent of the airport’s direct electricity needs.
Further, the carbon offset from the scheme was the equivalent of planting 50,000 trees or taking 1,500 cars off the road each year.
While the solar panels have been operational since the end of calendar 2018, Epho, which worked with Shakra Energy and Trina Solar on the project, said in a statement on Friday the system had “reached practical completion including all approvals from authorities”.
Epho senior project manager Axel La Toison said Brisbane Airport was the most challenging project the company had taken on, especially given the airport’s unique operating environment.
“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,” La Toison said in the statement.
“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.
La Toison said that experience at Brisbane Airport meant Epho was well placed for other airport and large commercial and industrial solar projects in the future.
Epho managing director Oliver Hartley said this 5.725MW installation was the largest airport solar deployment in Australia.
Dr Hartley said solar energy was the “natural choice” for airports and other commercial and industrial enterprises, given energy consumption usually peaked during the day, when the solar installation was also performing at its peak output.
Trina Solar, which supplied the solar panels, used panels with an anti-glare coating to meet the requirements of aviation regulators.
“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,” Trina Solar country sales manager Govind Kant said.
“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.”