Panels light the way to zero power costs

22-12-2017

Panels light the way to zero power costs

SA Water is investing $10 million on up to six megawatts of solar photo-voltaic panels to be installed at its water and wastewater treatment facilities in metropolitan Adelaide, in an effort to further increase its energy self-sufficiency and contribute to the corporation's goal of achieving zero net electricity costs by 2020.

A $500,000 pilot 100 kilowatt solar photo-voltaic and 50 kilowatt hour battery storage system is also currently being installed at SA Water’s Crystal Brook depot, chosen for the size and orientation of its roof, and potential for high-quality solar irradiance.

SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said mature technology like solar would immediately add further resilience to the corporation’s electricity management portfolio.

“Solar photo-voltaic and battery systems will allow us to manage the operating costs of our sites during periods of high electricity market prices, and to use stored energy to navigate around those times,” he said.

“In the same way that many South Australians have harnessed the benefits of solar panels at home, we’ll make some of our physical assets work harder for us and take advantage of our large buildings, roof spaces and land holdings.  

”Although smaller in scale, the battery and solar PV trial at Crystal Brook will help validate the effectiveness of this technology in reducing energy costs, with a view for wider implementation at other SA Water sites.

A tender for the solar systems to be installed across some of SA Water’s large metropolitan sites is currently in the market, with the first installations expected to take place in the second quarter of next year.

This project is part of a suite of renewable energy generation, storage, optimisation and efficiency initiatives being pursued by SA Water to achieve its goal of having zero net electricity costs by 2020.

"We’ve already been reducing our electricity costs by more than $3 million a year since 2013, so we know that with a concerted push, our goal is ambitious, but within reach.

“Sustainably reducing operational expenses like electricity will help us keep water and sewerage services charges as low and stable as possible, and is one way we can contribute to easing cost of living pressures for our customers,” Roch said.

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