Solar rollout for the University of Melbourne

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Veli Markovic

Commercial solar for Melbourne University

In this video presentation we look at a commercial solar rollout we implemented for the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Live University sites

The main challenge of the installations was working with live University sites and managing noise control, whilst also navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Access was limited during this period with tight timelines and government requirements adhered to in delivering the solar projects across Victoria.

Our Solution

Installation works span eight University buildings across the state, representing a significant step in their ‘Sustainability Plan 2017-2020’ and more broadly to Victoria’s Renewable Energy targets along with the Climate Change Act 2017.

With locations including a library, a museum, two art galleries, a gym, faculty offices, as well as both performing arts and lecture theatres - Greenwood’s delivery team managed significantly varied stakeholder needs, considering a range of complexities into project planning, including:

  • Academic calendars
  • Secure site access requirements
  • Multiple municipal frameworks
  • Needs of students, faculty, and public 
  • Traffic management
  • Heritage-listed buildings

The Result

Over 700,000kWh of renewable energy will be used across the University sites, reducing the site's carbon emission offset by over 800 tonnes CO2.

How it all came about: Enhar

Enhar was engaged by the uni in an owners or client engineer role and commissioned Greenwood to be the contractor on this University of Melbourne project and Ian Foster liaised with Greenwood staff and also Sebastian, Melbourne University's project manager.

Sites identified

There were eight sites that we had identified and they were over a few Melbourne campuses. Also identified was a Shepparton hub where a rural health facility received the benefits of a commercial solar system.

Buxton Contemporary Gallery 

This site's a 60 kilowatt installation which was installed on an art gallery which has a heritage overlay protection. Melbourne University, over the last couple of years, have created a smart campus upgrade model where solar plays a large part in reducing the overall university's energy consumption. There is a huge amount of assets with a large floor area of roof space which has been taken advantage of.

Enhar and Greenwood

Enhar has been involved in over 2.7 megawatts of the uni’s solar portfolio the latest rollout which Greenwood did is just over 500 kilowatts spread over eight pretty complex mostly high-rise CBD sites. 

Greenwood was the  preferred installer as we understood the complexities of the project and the stakeholders and had high quality documentation and methodology. 

The challenges

The most challenging aspect of this installation was working with a live gallery that sometimes had not only students but access to the general public and then at the start of the project the climate changed and the the effects of COVID really affected this so being able to have access to the site working with the University and be around the state government requirements for that time was quite challenging.


Monitoring played a huge part in the overall smart campus model that was presented to the University and Greenwood can identify and design and create savings but after the installation we really needed to monitor and make sure UoM are realizing those savings.

Fronius inverters

Throughout the entire rollout we elected to use Fronius inverters. Partially the reason was their high quality and that the university already had a lot of their solar systems installed with this particular brand of inverter.

Preliminary work

Site identification and prioritization formed the early part of the work then after that we did a detailed electrical design.

The university has a strict procedural model in terms of heritage buildings and we always tick the right boxes and approach heritage and council in the right manner. This often requires quite detailed design and intimate knowledge sharing of what we're trying to achieve on this particular site.

The requirement is that you cannot see any of the installation from the street so we took some of those challenges into our designs and then we created a stepped down inverter station frame which couldn't be viewed from the street.

Looking back

Melbourne University realized in hindsight seeing the benefits and how efficient it was to complete the whole program that more buildings should have been included which is on the horizon.

It's all well and good that  these energy savings can be achieved but UoM wants to communicate that to the broader community at the university and let them know that we're actually making changes and really affecting the sort of overall sustainability of the university and how it operates.

If you’d like to see what Greenwood Solutions get up to in the real world of renewable energy, solar, battery storage and grid protection check out our industry and commercial pages:

About the author

Veli Markovic

CEC Designer
Veli has nearly two decades of experience in the renewable industry. He is passionate about providing people with valuable education and is highly regarded throughout the industry as an educator and operator.
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