Around 240 solar photovoltaic panels are now helping to power SA Water’s drinking water network for customers in Mallala, north of Adelaide, as the utility makes progress in its pursuit of a zero cost energy future.
Installed at the town’s booster water pump station, the ground-mounted panels will reduce SA Water’s operating costs and carbon emissions though the generation of 146 megawatt hours (MWh) of green energy each year, and are among 35 solar arrays being installed at SA Water sites across metropolitan and regional South Australia.
SA Water’s Senior Manager Zero Cost Energy Future Nicola Murphy said its ambitious renewable energy management initiative will see a total of around 500,000 solar panels installed to produce a total of 242 GWh of electricity, along with 34 MWh of battery storage.
“Now in the ground and capturing the summer sunshine, electricity generated by our panels at Mallala will help reduce the pump station’s operating costs while reducing our carbon emissions by around 62 tonnes each year,” Nicola said.
“Our energy-intensive drinking water and wastewater operations topped $83 million in 2019-20, making us one of the largest electricity consumers in the state, so it’s fantastic this solar array will make a real difference to our pumping costs while helping supply our customers in the Mallala region with clean, safe drinking water.”
SA Water’s zero cost energy future initiative has already seen around 160,000 solar panels positioned at sites like the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant and major pump stations along the Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline, with the remaining panels due to be installed over the coming months.
“Despite the changing COVID-19 conditions we’ve seen throughout the year, we continue making significant progress on this large-scale solar project, due to the advanced procurement of the solar panels while implementing hygiene and social distancing practices where practicable,” Nicola said.
“Not only has this kept the project on schedule, but it’s also sustained work for our contract partners and suppliers working on projects across regional South Australia, providing flow-on benefits to the state’s economy.
“This initiative was designed by our people, and shows South Australians leading the way with the smarts and skills to integrate renewable energy and storage within the longest water network in the country.”
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