In Queensland, the sun is about as reliable as you can get, which is why East Coast Electroplating chose to go solar. The north Brisbane company was looking for a way to reduce reliance on the grid and shrink its hefty demand charges.

Electroplating is an energy intensive process that uses electric current to coat metals with a thin layer of a different metal. An electroplater’s power bill is going to be high, and any means to bring costs down is worth considering – so long as it’s a reliable solution.

Although East Coast Electroplating leases its premises the building’s owner was happy to install solar as an incentive to retain a good tenant and as a cost-effective method of increasing the green credentials and competitiveness of its building.

The 99.84kW system is made up of 384 260-watt Jinko Smart Modules with embedded SolarEdge optimizers, three 27.6kW SolarEdge inverters and SunLock commercial framing.

Optimizers are embedded in the Jinko SolarEdge Smart Panel modules, which simplifies the task of monitoring performance and isolating issues. “Having the optimizer on the panel also saves in installation time,” says SolarGreen principal Robert Wichgers. “We gave the client options and they thought [the Jinko Smart module] was the best idea.”

The project was completed in June and SolarGreen says the Jinko SolarEdge Smart system decreased the balance of system costs dramatically. String fusing was not required, with strings of up to 43 panels. The number of isolators, cabling and related equipment was noticeably less than a standard string inverter installation. Up to 16 additional panels could be connected to each string.

SolarGreen estimated power bill savings of $2,660 a month.

Local grid provider Energex approved the system based on a zero feed, “which works because [the tenant] consumes all the power anyway,” Wichgers says.

“The project went really well,” he says. “The only challenge we had were a few of the roof-bearers, where some rusted roof screws had to be replaced. Everything else was alright.”

The job took one week and SolarGreen contracted the design and installation work to Gold Coast Solar Power Solutions.