CEC Solar Awards finalist

Aged care facility, Sydney, NSW

CATEGORY: 30-240kW

Grant Finigan and Scott Mason, Platinum Solar Designs

The photos shown here might lead you to believe the owners of this system wanted to hide their new solar system from the public’s gaze, with the panels all tucked into a valley of roofing between structures in the complex. The real story is different.

“Because the building’s about four storeys high no-one wanted to put a safety rail around it,” says Platinum Solar Designs managing director Scott Mason. “We had to change the combination to various directions, instead of west.” The rooftop air-con also got in the way. “There were numerous issues.”

Covid restrictions at care facilities meant the Platinum team had no access to the premises during the tender process. By the time they got the go ahead, covid was taking off again and workers were not allowed inside.

“We had to build a scaffold that went up and over the roof,” Mason says. “We weren’t allowed in. It was a bit of a crazy job.” To add to complications, every single Italian slate roof tile was secured to the beams by a grub screw, or “cyclone grounded”.

Mason’s happy with plenty of work his team’s completed this year but chose to submit this one for an award because “we kept hitting snags due to the safety content and the difficulty of the job”. With more than 6,000 solar jobs under his belt, Mason’s “never seen anything like this one”.

The company has delivered a stream of aged care facilities and has plenty more in the pipeline. They are perfect for solar, of course, because energy is consumed seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Trina’s all-black 330W panels were used with SMA inverters. For Mason, the 78.5kW job is a reminder of a great working relationship with Trina country head Govind Kant, who succumbed to covid-19 in India in May 2021.

“It’s in memory of Govind, who was a good friend,” he says. “We spent a lot of time on the project, to send him off in the right way. It was something close to all of us.”