Client at a glance

Client
Sydney Markets Limited
Location
Flemington, Sydney
Completion date
2018
System size
3.2MW
Project type
Rooftop Solar PV (Design and Construct)

Sydney Markets has undergone remarkable transformation since its humble beginnings over 200 years ago on the wharves of Sydney. Today Sydney Markets is recognised internationally for its world-class fresh produce and community markets. It is the largest fresh fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Australia and one of the largest in the world. Sydney Markets is now also home to the largest ‘behind the meter’ solar power system in NSW and the largest solar PV system in Sydney.

Autonomous Energy has designed, built, operated and maintained this 3.2MW system, rolled out across four separate phases. The first three phases were solar carpark shading systems and the fourth phase is a 2.2MW roof parallel system.


As featured in EcoGeneration magazine. Click here to read the full feature article appearing in October 2018 issue (refer page 94). 


Autonomous Energy solution

  • Before integrating the solar modules, Autonomous Energy installed a special roof membrane to prevent any small leaks as the roofs are over 40 years old. The membrane is also a highly reflective white colour, which when combined with the installation of the solar modules, significantly reduces the thermal load on the building.
  • Over 3kms of permanent walkways and handrails were installed to ensure safe access to all solar panels as well as edge protection. This was completed prior to the installation of the solar arrays, to minimise the risk of roof damage during installation and maximise safety. New hose reels were installed along each roof ensuring that every panel can be reached by a hose for effective cleaning.
  • To accurately mark out the whole system, Autonomous Energy had each roof surveyed by a qualified surveyor prior to the installation. This ensured that the installation accurately matched the design over a large roof area (approximately 2 hectares). Laser devices and triangulation methods were used to ensure best practice in alignment of all solar modules (rows were up to 260m long). All craning locations were examined by structural engineers and certifications were provided before craning commenced, ensuring best practice in safety management. Strict Inspection Test Plans (ITPs) were maintained throughout the project and signed off by the Project Manager and Site Manager at critical points. Each array had a designated, CEC accredited Quality Control Officer, ensuring best practice quality management.
  • Over 8,000 super high efficiency LG NeON™ solar modules were integrated across phases 2, 3 and 4, with phase 1 using Japanese made Kyocera modules. Phase 4 utilises panel level optimisation (SolarEdge Technology) to maximise the performance of each module whilst ensuring the safest possible system from a DC electricity point of view.
  • Autonomous Energy needed to devise a solution for connecting the output of the systems to the existing Main Switch Boards (MSBs) at each building. These were more than 40 years old, with original switchgear and no room for additional circuit breakers. For Building D the solution consisted of a major MSB modification, incorporating the two new solar circuits with two existing circuits into a new cubicle, added to the end of the existing switchboard. The new cubicle was designed with sufficient segregation to allow installation in two stages, with only one shutdown. The new cubicle was installed and the connection to the existing bus bars completed. The new solar circuit breaker was then isolated and locked off, with the connection point for the submains from the inverter switchboard in a physically separate compartment. These were then terminated at a later date using the new circuit breakers for isolation rather than requiring isolation at the transformer. For Building E, there was no space in the main switch room to install additional switchboard cubicles so the solution was to install two new switchboards in the plant room where the inverters were located. These new boards were fed from existing submains, run from the main switch room. These submains were insufficient for the current rating of the solar, so one set of submains was replaced altogether and the other upgraded with additional parallel circuits to a new 1250A “take off box” which allowed the submains to then feed the solar and existing services whilst maintaining compliance with AS3000.
  • To add to the complexity, shutdowns required at various stages - to allow for switchboard modifications, cable upgrades and connections - had a strict maximum time limit, due to the quantity of refrigerated loads on site. Shutdowns were coordinated with site users, specialised contractors and the client to ensure minimal disruption and all were executed seamlessly. At stake, for example, was Sydney’s supply of fresh bananas, worth several million dollars.
  • The existing transformers (which feed the buildings to which the solar is connected and are part of the client’s internal high voltage infrastructure) are approximately 40 years old. There was concern that back-feeding solar could cause damage. So, in coordination with the transformer manufacturer, Autonomous Energy undertook power quality monitoring of each transformer and installed harmonic filters to protect against the worst-case harmonic levels that could be generated by the inverters.

What Sydney Markets say

Following our stringent competitive tender process, Autonomous Energy provided the best solution that met our scope and output requirements. The project was delivered to a high standard and high level of quality despite the difficult working environment at the Markets. Autonomous Energy have exceeded our expectations, which has also resulted in a higher return on investment.
 
Martin Forster, Head of Site Services, Sydney Markets Limited

Client at a glance

Client
Sydney Markets Limited
Location
Flemington, Sydney
Completion date
2018
System size
3.2MW
Project type
Rooftop Solar PV (Design and Construct)

Questions? Call us on 1300 797 652

We'd love to hear from you