SA Water flips switch on Crystal Brook energy trial

26-06-2018

SA Water flips switch on Crystal Brook energy trial

A solar photo-voltaic (PV) and battery storage system at SA Water’s Crystal Brook Workshop is now operating – helping to reduce the site’s running costs and increase its energy self-sufficiency.

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.

SA Water’s Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said although still in early stages, the $500,000 Crystal Brook trial is already producing positive results.

“The 100 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV and 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) of battery storage installed at the site allows us to use locally-generated and stored energy during periods of high electricity market prices,” Roch said.

“In the month this technology has been live, it has reduced our reliance on the electricity grid by around 30 per cent, and it’s estimated this decrease has lowered the site’s electricity costs by around 20 per cent.

“We expect to further reduce electricity costs once we implement a predictive control system developed in-house, which uses a complex algorithm to determine the best times to charge and discharge the battery, and at what rate.

“Although the trial system is on the smaller scale, it’s still big news for us – our Crystal Brook Workshop is able to generate and store its own electricity, and we’re one of the first large Australian water utilities to do this using innovative combined solar and battery storage.

“This initiative is also adding further resilience to our wider electricity management portfolio, with the aim of keeping prices as low and stable as possible for our customers.”

Crystal Brook was chosen as the pilot site for its roof size and orientation, and potential for high-quality solar irradiance.

“The success of this trial will help us determine whether to adopt this type of energy storage at other suitable SA Water sites,” Roch said.

“We’d like to have at least 12 months’ worth of data to validate how effective battery storage technology, in particular, is at reducing electricity costs, so we can confidently extend its use in other regional areas.”

SA Water is also installing further solar photo-voltaic panels at several of its water and wastewater treatment plant sites in metropolitan Adelaide, with these expected to be operational in the coming months.

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