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Equinix launches Australia's largest data centre solar system
Mon, 26th Feb 2024

Equinix, a global digital infrastructure company, has launched a 1MW rooftop solar system in Melbourne. This significant installation signifies one of Australia's largest data centre solar deployments. The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Climate Action, Energy, and Resources and the State Electricity Commission unveiled the system.

Through a program aiming at reducing energy costs and addressing climate change, Equinix has successfully installed this system at the ME1 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre. This project is one in a series of installations whereby Equinix has diversified its energy mix across different locations, including Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney. These solar systems supply approximately 1.8MW of clean energy to local power grids.

To fund the Melbourne rooftop solar system, Equinix claimed Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs). These are part of the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program, an initiative by the Victorian government aimed at reducing power bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP acknowledged the importance of such projects, stating: “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. Since 2009, the VEU has helped more than 2 million households and 150,000 businesses lower their energy bills and we look forward to saving them even more when we bring more options into the program soon.”

The 1MW rooftop solar system is the largest onsite rooftop solar PV system that Equinix have globally, manifesting the company’s commitment towards introducing more clean energy to local grids and aiding in decarbonisation efforts. Furthermore, Equinix recently signed its first long-term renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement in the Asia-Pacific with the Golden Plains Wind Farm – East in Victoria.

Guy Danskine, Managing Director of Equinix Australia, emphasizes the importance of such sustainability efforts: “Deploying rooftop solar systems at our Australian data centres is an important step in our overarching strategy to help decarbonise the grid and foster a more sustainable future for data centres. We have invested millions of dollars in solar systems, and have plans to expand this further. We are constantly exploring ways to deliver our digital infrastructure in the most sustainable way to address rising digital needs of businesses and support the development of the country’s digital economy.”

Equinix has shown steady growth in its renewable energy coverage, achieving a notable 96% in 2022. This progress is part of a larger goal to attain 100% renewable energy coverage by 2030. Given the company's growth, its renewable energy purchasing on a MWh-basis has increased a significant 29% over the past two years. With the recent Power Purchase Agreement with the Golden Plains Wind Farm, Equinix expects to reach its 100% renewables target by 2030.