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Solar on Parliament House

Project Overview

• Joint tender between Todae Solar and SilexSolar • Tender awarded April 2011 • Project Completed June 2011 • System size is 43KW • SilexSolar 185w Modules • SMA Tri Power Inverters


• Project Timeframe • Design Complexity • Installation availability • Installation Challenges • Integration and Monitoring • Design and Delivery [on time] • Additional Security & Scheduling Requirements • Overall Aesthetics of Quality

Project Breakdown SENATE WING: 192 x Solar Panels = 35.52kWp

GARDENERS’ COMPOUND: 42 x Solar Panels = 7.77kWp

• Project is used to assess the viability of integrating renewable energy sources into the APH • 43.29kWp (STC Rated Peak Capacity) • Production of 65,000 kWh per year (= 8 households) • Approx. 65 tonnes of CO2 avoided per year • 234 Australian made solar panels

Design and Delivery - Key Factors to Success • • •

Detailed design at an early stage specifying the key components Good project management – working efficiently with all suppliers/partners/external engineers and client Experienced installation team who can respond to any challenges on site and do quality work

Key Design Features of Systems • • • • • • • • • •

Compliance with APH’s own standards 3 Phase Inverters & Balanced Phases AC and DC Surge Arresters/Diverters DC Combiner Boxes & Over-current Protection with Isolation PV Distribution Board [Mustering Board] Mechanical Protection of All Cables Permanent Fall Protection System [Gardeners’] PV Array Frame Bonding Bonding to external lightning protection system Staff Training & Maintenance Schedules

Additional Security & Scheduling Requirements •

Police check and security clearance for all contractors and Todae Solar staff

All delivers and cranes inspected by AFP prior to delivery to site [adding extra time and scheduling difficulties]

Work inside and/or on the Senate Wing roof halted during Parliamentary Sitting hours

Sub-board upgrades had to be carried out on weekends and night times

Special permit for crane and only one opportunity given to crane onto the roof to meet project dead-line [crucial point in project]

Installation on Senate Wing roof


Structural engineer calculated higher-than-expected wind loads on the Western side of the Senate Wing = framing & ballast had to be adjusted in last minute

Installation on Senate Wing roof •

Deep layer of gravel on the roof which had to be shifted than pushed back around the array after the installation [additional labour and time]


The slopes on the concrete roof for drainage have been steeper than what the drawings suggested = framing had to be levelled on the spot

Overall Aesthetics of Quality

Aesthetics had a major importance. Parliament House was constructed with a design life of 200 years plus and it is an iconic building.

Todae Solar selected the framing products and panels based not only on quality but appearance as well.

The Government Architect’s Office was requested to review the pilot solar system’s architectural and heritage qualities. The report found:

“…the overall installation is sympathetic to the integrity of the Senate Building and its surrounds when assessed in term of symmetrical balance, respectful to the plan layout, orientation and sensitive to the selection of materials... The panels are not visually obtrusive. The selection of materials relates to the current palette evidenced in the vicinity, namely the anodised aluminium and tint of glazing visually corresponds with similar surrounding materials…”

System Standards


AS 1170.2 Minimum design loads on structures (SAA Loading Code) - Part 2: Wind Loads AS 1768 Lightning Protection AS/NZS 3000:2007 Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules AS/NZS3008.1.1 Electrical Installations - Selection of Cables AS 4777.1:2005 Grid Connection of Energy Systems via Inverters AS/NZS 5033:2005 Installation of PV Arrays CEC Installation Requirements ACTEWAGL & ACTPLA Installation Requirements

Post Commissioning Challenges

• Network Compliance • Monitoring


Aerial View

The Finished Product