Equinix unveils 1 MW rooftop system at Melbourne data centre

With assistance from a Victorian government energy efficiency initiative, United States-headquartered digital infrastructure company Equinix has installed a 1 MW rooftop solar system atop one of its Melbourne data centres as it continues to build upon its broader clean energy program.

Equinix has successfully installed a 1 MW rooftop solar system atop the ME1 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre in Port Melbourne in a move designed to reduce energy costs and decarbonise operations.

Data centres are notoriously energy intensive and Equinix, which has more than 240 centres in 27 countries, is determined to deploy clean energy where possible as it works towards achieving 100% renewable energy coverage in its operations by 2030.

Equinix Australia Managing Director Guy Danskine said the installation of rooftop solar at the company’s facilities is an important part of an overarching strategy to help foster a more sustainable future for data centres.

The Melbourne rooftop system is the largest yet rolled out by Equinix in Australia and adds to systems deployed at seven other data centres in Brisbane, Canberra, and Sydney which collectively provide a total of approximately 1.8 MW of clean energy to the grid.

“In Australia, we have invested millions of dollars in solar systems and have plans to expand this further,” Danskine said.

“We are constantly exploring ways to deliver our digital infrastructure in the most sustainable way to address surging digital needs of businesses and support the development of the country’s digital economy,” he said.

To help fund the Melbourne rooftop solar system, Equinix claimed Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs) through the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program that was established by the state government to reduce power bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

VEECs are created when eligible energy efficiency activities, such as rooftop solar, are undertaken. Each certificate represents one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who attended the unveiling of the Melbourne rooftop system, said the initiative has helped more than 2 million households and 150,000 businesses lower their energy bills.

“Data centres are energy intensive, but through the VEU program Equinix has been able to install a large-scale solar system that reduces their operating costs and helps to lower their emissions,” she said.

The unveiling of the rooftop PV system comes after Equinix earlier in the month signed a clean energy power purchase agreement with TagEnergy.

Once operational in 2029, the agreement, for 151 MW of renewable energy sourced from the Golden Plains East Wind Farm, is expected to supply enough energy to the grid to cover Equinix’s 17 Australian data centres.

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