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A Melbourne hotel complex has become the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s first solar investment in the hotel sector.

The Southbank Holiday Inn Express is due for completion at the end of 2019 and CEFC is investing $39 million to install a solar power system plus energy-efficiency and clean energy technologies.

The embedded technologies should enable it to cut its energy use by about 25 percent.

The Pro-invest Group is developing the 22-story mixed-use hotel project, which includes commercial spaces and a car park. Pro-invest already operates several Holiday Inn Express hotels in Australia and New Zealand and is planning another six developments.

Solar panels, high-performance glazing, an energy recycle system, and other energy measures should also earn the development 5 stars in the National Australia Built Environment Ratings System (NABERS).

NABERS measures the energy performance and water usage of Australian commercial buildings against benchmarks and awards a star rating. This enables the property owner to see where improvements are needed to reduce the building’s impact on the environment. The maximum rating buildings can achieve is 6 stars.

This program provides loan finance for property owners to improve building performance. It also invests in the transport, infrastructure, higher education and local government sectors.

The funding is part of the CEFC Sustainable Cities Investment Program.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said hotels are traditionally high consumers of energy. This is partly because they have high requirements for air-conditioning and hot water services. He commended Pro-invest for incorporating energy-saving technology at the design phase of the development.

The CEFC also provides debt finance for other types of projects that support low-carbon energy such as solar and energy storage batteries. Previous investments include $150 million towards the Lincoln Gap Tesla Powerpack battery and $6.5 million for Newcastle Council’s 5 MW solar farm.