Kiwi Property's solar panels at Sylvia Park powering on video

PETER MEECHAM/stuff.co.nz

It has been one year since more than 1000 solar panels, New Zealand's largest solar panel array, were installed on top of Auckland's Sylvia Park shopping mall. 

Spanning a distance equivalent to 12 tennis courts, the panels have produced enough energy to supply 62 homes for a year, Sylvia Park owner Kiwi Property claims.

Kiwi Property national facilities manager Jason Happy said the panels have provided almost 20 per cent of the shopping centre's base building energy needs.

Pascal Temu gives the solar panels on top of Sylvia Park shopping centre their first clean.
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Pascal Temu gives the solar panels on top of Sylvia Park shopping centre their first clean.

The panels produced 18 per cent of the annual energy during winter.

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"The energy produced means we have reduced our annual carbon emissions from the centre by 65 tonnes, which is the equivalent of 15 return flights from Auckland to London per person."

Happy said the energy created has far exceeded their expectations and was notably regular considering the inconsistent weather throughout the year.

"We're a commercial organisation and we had an expectation of a commercial return and we're very pleased to say the output - and therefore commercial return - has exceeded that.

"Solar is certainly a commercial gain, it makes our buildings attractive to occupy and lessens the risks around regulatory changes or market changes that make the building obsolete."

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When Sylvia Park was built, there were a range of features created that were designed to reduce waste, water and energy and encourage biodiversity.

These included introducing a lot of daylight, installing air conditioning units that used outside air when appropriate, rain water harvesting facilities and extensive planting across the whole property.

Sylvia Park also provides free electric vehicle charging stations, which have been used an estimated 670 times since being set up in October 2014.

Happy said two more charging stations would be added due to customer demand.

"We've had a number of customers comment that they have switched shopping to Sylvia Park from other centres because of the availability of our charging stations."

More panels could be added in the future and Kiwi Property was looking at installing solar panels at other shopping centres.

It was also planning to add electric charging stations to centres in Northland, Christchurch, Palmerston and Auckland's LynnMall.

Auckland's newest shopping mall, NorthWest, also has new electric vehicle charging facilities.

Recently installed by Vector, the dual port charger cater to two vehicles at a time.

 - Stuff

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