Capturing sun and providing shade at Willows Shopping Centre
In May 2020, Dexus completed one of Australia’s largest car park solar projects at Willows Shopping Centre in Townsville (owned by Dexus Wholesale Property Fund and managed by Dexus). The project includes 4,800 solar PV panels that will generate approximately 2,500 MWh per annum, equivalent to the usage of 370 Queensland households. At retail centres like Willows, onsite solar PV works well because centre visitation tends to be higher during the daytime, which is also the time when solar PV systems generate the most power (a quality referred to as “load matching”).
The benefits of the project extend beyond the provision of renewable energy and includes the installation of shade sails that will further enhance the amenity for centre visitors. The project has added shading with under-canopy lighting to an additional 500 car park bays, enhancing the shopper experience and increasing the number of shaded or undercover car parks to over 1,700 bays. The new solar array reduces the centre’s use of grid-purchased electricity and associated carbon emissions, supporting Dexus’s pathway to net zero emissions across its managed portfolio by 2030.