A renewable energy developer who wants to roll out solar carports at shopping centres across Queensland says he isn’t trying to take on the mining industry.
Shakra Energy’s managing director Sam Khalil joined Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Larissa Waters to unveil Australia’s “largest carport solar development” in Brisbane on Friday.
“We’re not trying to take on the mining industry on – we’re only trying to generate 20 to 30 to 40 per cent of what high energy users need (and) reduce the carbon emissions,” he told AAP.
“We’re not here to say let’s go head to head. We’re here to say – allow us to generate cleaner electricity, 20-30 per cent of the energy needed, more jobs and look past your nose.”
Mr Khalil said it made sense that shopping centres should be able to use sunlit carports to generate their own power, saving them money and providing shade for customer’s vehicles.
He said some businesses were forking out $10-15 million each year for electricity so it was a “no brainer” for businesses to install the systems and save up to 40 per cent on power.
It would also create jobs and reduce carbon emissions, he said.
Shakra Energy installed more than 300 solar panels on shade structures on top of PA Central in Brisbane’s south, which is expected to generate 30 to 40 per cent of the energy needed to run the car park and several businesses at the centre.
The total cost was about $250,000, although this would vary from project to project, Mr Khalil said.
He said there had been a lot of interest from shopping centres across the state, although he wouldn’t reveal which ones.
Mr Khalil said he had some positive responses from state and federal politicians but others were more interested in the coal seam gas industry.
“They’re probably looking at the contracts that are probably already tied up with those large fat cats, which is quite sad because, as you can see, the agriculture industry is suffering,” he said.
Senator Waters challenged the Palaszczuk government to champion the idea and make Queensland a leader in clean energy innovation.
“While coal is in structural decline, renewable energy is on the up and up, generating new jobs and offering trade opportunities,” she said.
Clean energy alternatives would also help in the ongoing fight against global warming, Senator Hanson-Young said.