100kW Rooftop Solar PV + 100kW Battery Storage
153 MWh Generation per Year
70% Energy Reduction
123t C02 reduction per year
5 Years Payback Period
Officeworks Hits 100% Renewable Energy Milestone with Smart Commercial Solar
The team at Officeworks recently celebrated a major milestone on their journey towards carbon neutrality, with the Warana store becoming first to be capable of running on 100% renewable energy. The project, which leveraged Smart Commercial Solar’s expertise in lithium-ion battery storage, is the latest in a partnership stretching over four years and including more than twenty stores.
Now Warana will be the trailblazer that others within the Officeworks network and the broader Wesfarmers group will use as a blueprint for energy independence.
Officeworks as a company has ambitious sustainability goals, one of which is to be 100 per cent powered by renewables by 2025. To achieve this, the company is relying on a combination of on-site solar and storage along with large-scale wind and solar farm agreements.
Unexpected rollout challenges are disruptive for any organisation, but as a large retail chain with 168 stores across Australia it was imperative for Officeworks that disruptions were minimised. To this end, the company needed a successful proof-of-concept to enable them to roll the strategy out across its network.
It made a lot of sense for Officeworks Warana to be the first store to have a lithium-ion battery installed to store to complement its existing rooftop PV solar array. As a new facility — the store opened in 2021 — it was already built with sustainability in mind. The thermal coating on the roof and double insulation keeps the building comfortable without additional heating or cooling. Additionally, LED lights greatly improve energy efficiency across the store and further reduce power draw.
“We chose Warana to be the first store to get a lithium battery because, first of all, it’s located in the Sunshine State, so it’s the perfect place to put it. But it’s also a perfect example of working in close partnership with our landlord, who has been a key contributor to this initiative.”
Officeworks - CFO
Officeworks selected Smart Commercial Solar to handle the installation of the additional solar infrastructure based on the success of past projects and an existing relationship stretching over four years. The store already had some solar panels installed; however an upgrade was required to maximise the system’s generation.
The installation itself went smoothly, thanks to the close collaboration between all parties involved.
“Originally, Officeworks had an 80Kw array from a year or two ago. We have now installed the 100Kw battery and another 20Kw worth of solar to help supplement the flow of energy into the battery. This allows Officeworks to run the store entirely on renewable energy,” explained Molly Barr, Smart Commercial Solar’s Commercial Project Manager.
The Warana store’s solar array and battery alone now provide 70 per cent of the location’s power supply. Combined with sourced large-scale wind and solar, the location can provide 100 per cent renewable energy at times.
“The typical Queensland store consumes around 340,000 KwH per year. At Warana, we consume about 130,000 KwH per year. It’s a reduction of about 70 per cent from your typical Queensland store.”
Officeworks - Carbon and Energy Manager
The benefits extend beyond the immediate power draw. With this first store being so successful, Officeworks now has a roadmap to roll out similar solar strategies to its other locations. Beyond that, Officeworks has been able to show leadership to the broader Wesfarmers group. This has helped to demonstrate the potential and value of solar across all the other retail chains within the group.
“We have some future technologies that we wanted to trial in Officeworks stores to work out what a future climate-resilient store for us would look like,” Heagney reported. “The lithium battery and solar panels are two examples of this. We wanted to make this story the lowest energy intensity store in the Officeworks network.”
The benefits don’t stop there, either. As Officeworks Warana Store Business Manager Cameron Foreman noted, the success at the Warana store has boosted employee morale and is good for the external image of the company, too.
“It has really stirred a lot of attention with the customers,” he said. “We put extra signage at the front of the store and provided green shirts for all the staff to get them on board. Everyone’s really proud to have us in this position. It’s exciting to be leading the charge with this.”