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Wollongong City Council solar carpark

Wollongong City Council has installed solar panels equipped with Enphase microinverters on a carpark to reduce its administration building energy costs by as much as one quarter annually.

Each of the 549 solar panels on the council’s multi-storey Stewart Street carpark is equipped with an Enphase microinverter to optimise performance, simplify maintenance and for greater safety. This latest solar system adds to an existing 327 kilowatts-peak (kWp) of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels already installed on various council assets.

The new 219.6 kWp system has solar panels fixed to steel frames to shade vehicles in the carpark. Annually, the solar carpark will generate as much as 316 megawatts hours (MWh) of energy, enabling it to offset about three months per year of energy use by the council’s adjacent 6 Star Green Star-rated Administration Building, as well as exporting excess energy to the grid. Since it was commissioned in late August, the Enphase monitoring portal reports that the system generated 82.95 MWh to November 17, with a peak daily generation of more than 1.7 MWh. 

Amanda Warren with Vic Ratnieks (centre) and husband Mark at the Gumeracha HotelAmanda Warren with Vic Ratnieks (centre) and husband Mark at the Gumeracha HotelThe Gumeracha Hotel has won an Australian Hotels Association of SA Award for innovation for its nimble customer-focussed response to the pandemic, assisted by a Facebook Messenger ordering app designed by hungry software developer Vic Ratnieks.

The renovated hotel collected the Excellence award in the ‘Recognition of Adaption & Innovation’ category – along with Crown Inn Kingston and The Playford in Adelaide – which means they will represent SA in the AHA National Awards, to be held in Hobart on February 7 next year.

Gumeracha Hotel owners Mark and Amanda Warren scored the award for their innovative response during the depths of last year’s COVID-19 downturn when trade was decimated by lockdowns and social distancing limits when no one was allowed to go to a pub or dine in. 

Ultra Commerce CEO Matthew HylandAfter raising more than $10 million for growth this year, Sydney-based Ultra Commerce has acquired US-based Slatwall Commerce to accelerate the global reach of its end-to-end digital commerce platform.

In its second strategic acquisition of 2021, Ultra Commerce is integrating technology and teams from both companies to strengthen its digital commerce platform, which is designed to deliver richer integrated eCommerce capabilities for customers ranging from fast-growing small businesses to global enterprises.

Slatwall Commerce is a Massachusetts-based company with deep technical capability in “headless commerce”, which decouples the back end of an eCommerce website from its customer-facing “head”.In June, Ultra Commerce acquired a New Zealand-headquartered company with clients in North America, Vesta eCommerce, which brought market-leading product data management capabilities to further enhance the Ultra Commerce platform by enabling it to easily integrate disparate sources of product data.

With these acquisitions, Ultra Commerce now has eight offices in five countries, with more than 100 staff serving over 60 customers globally, positioning the business to scale quickly.

Enphase Energy Marketing Manager APAC Justin CohenAs Australians continue their record-breaking love affair with solar panels, people building new homes are increasingly choosing to include “smart solar” photovoltaic (PV) systems in their building designs.

CSIRO reports that Australia installed its largest ever number of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems during 2020, with more than 362,000 installed nationally - an increase of 28 per cent from 2019. By the end of last year, one in four Australian homes - 2.68 million in total - had solar panels installed.

That renewable energy megatrend has motivated premium Melbourne high-end home builder Pearl Homes to select Enphase Energy as its preferred solar partner, recommending Enphase microinverters to any customers who want to install solar PV systems on their homes.