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Vicinity pumps A$50M more for Australian CRE sector's biggest solar program

Vicinity Centres will spearhead the biggest solar energy roll-out program in the commercial real estate market in the Land Down Under with a further A$50 million investment it plans to inject into the sector, The Australian Financial Review reported.

The additional investment will add to the A$28 million the company already pumped into the first stage of the solar program in April, which went toward installations at five of its centers, according to the report.

The retail-focused property group will cover solar installations in another 17 centers in the latest expansion of the program, adding 20.6 megawatts to the 11.2-megawatt capacity the first phase reached, the Sept. 2 report added. The second installation phase is scheduled to commence later in 2018.

The two phases of Vicinity's solar program will yield 48.5 gigawatt hours of power generation yearly and would likely lower the company's grid electricity consumption by 40%.

The publication quoted Justin Mills, executive general manager of Vicinity's shopping center management arm, as saying that the solar component is part of a broader integrated program that comprises efficiency initiatives, and more optimal management methods and batteries, in order to reduce its power utilization and overall environmental footprint.

The solar panels will generate approximately 15% of initial cash yield for the company, as well as a 12% internal rate of return, taking into account certain conditions, AFR added.