NEXTDC has commited to build what will be Australia’s largest privately-owned rooftop photovoltaic solar system at its Port Melbourne data centre called "M1".The company will spend approximately A$1.2 million to install up to 400kW of solar panels to generate around 550 MWh of electricity per annum. A system of this size will offset over 670 tonnes of CO2 per annum. This equates to taking around 200 cars off the road, or powering NABERS 4 star office space for over 890 people.
Bevan Slattery, CEO of NEXTDC, said that NEXTDC was working in partnership with Australia’s leading solar power firm, Energy Matters, who will construct and install the system over the next couple of months. "Our installation of a large scale solar system is a first for data centres in Asia-Pacific and we are proud to be leading the way. We are very aware of the future pressures on energy consumption and we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint however we can," Mr Slattery said.
NEXTDC aims to lead the Australian ICT sector in solar power generation and energy efficiency, following trends in the US where industry giants are investing in large scale solar projects. For example, Google has four solar farms underway in California while Apple recently announced a project to build a 20MW solar farm at its Maiden data centre facility in North Carolina.
NEXTDC has already incorporated energy efficient measures into its new-build data centres such as tri- generation plant and outside free air-cooling. After successful deployment of the solar panels at M1, additional investments will be made at their other data centres around Australia.
"We are proud to be the first data centre operator in Australia to invest in solar energy," Mr Slattery said. "In fact, we are also committing to install up to 1MW of solar energy within the next 12 months at our upcoming data centre facilities".
Jeremy Rich, Managing Director of Energy Matters said that it was exciting for Energy Matters to be a part of this project. “As one of first truly large-scale, privately funded and owned rooftop PV solar systems, we see this as the start of something big for commercial solar in Australia and applaud NEXTDC for taking the lead”.