Mirvac Energy learning as our plans become reality

Mirvac Energy was originally conceived to help the business achieve our sustainability strategy commitment to install one megawatt of renewable energy by 2018.

Simply put, it works on the premise that we install solar panels at our own assets, harvest the energy, and sell it back to the base building, providing an alternative energy source for our properties, and a new revenue stream for our business.

Installing our first megawatt of renewable energy is a key milestone on our path to be net positive by 2030. We knew that through the implementation of Mirvac Energy, we would discover a lot about the barriers and opportunities that exist around solar energy. This proved to be true as we installed our first two Mirvac Energy pilots in FY17: the first being at Orion Springfield Central near Brisbane, and the second at One Darling Island in Sydney.

At Orion, we had 3,200 panels to install, which needed to be delivered and installed when the centre was closed. Given the fact that Orion is a busy retail centre, the time to install was limited. Adding to the complexity of the installations was a limited space for the cranes and a strong desire to reduce the impact on the local community.

Fortunately, our principal contractor, AGL, came up with an innovative solution. Between 5:00am and 8:00am on a Sunday morning, all the panels were lifted on to the roof of Orion by helicopter and installed shortly after.

While we are satisfied with the pilot installations, there are certainly areas we can improve upon. We learned that it was necessary to have the roofs structurally reviewed to ensure they could take the weight of pallets involved in installation, as well as the importance of communicating clearly with local stakeholders.

The good news is that we now have the practical experience to confidently move ahead with further installations, supporting our net positive ambitions.

With energy prices on the up and solar panel prices decreasing, Mirvac Energy appears to be an excellent defensive strategy for Mirvac, and we plan to continue rolling it out across our portfolio.