One of South Australia’s biggest rooftop solar arrays will soon provide 20 per cent of Flinders University’s energy needs.
The project will see nearly 6,000 solar panels installed on buildings at Flinders’ Bedford Park Campus.
The 1.8 MW rooftop system will cost $4.895 million, and will pay itself off in seven years. The university expects the solar array to generate energy for 25 years.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the biggest system — comprising 4136 panels — would convert an existing car park into a solar car port. A further 1,681 solar panels across six buildings would collectively generate a fifth of the university’s power requirements.
Solar array drives University’s expansion goals
Designed around a single living tree, which spreads its foliage above the huge solar array, the solar car port will include charging docks for autonomous campus shuttles run on renewable energy.
These solar-powered, driver-less vehicles will ferry across campus from the planned Flinders rail station.
In addition, the university has included charging points for plug-in electric vehicles. By providing free solar energy to EV users, it’s also hoped their presence will increase on campus.
In the future, covered walkways incorporating solar generation will provide access between the car port and university buildings.
Stirling said the project adds to existing solar arrays atop campus buildings, demonstrating Flinders’ commitment to sustainability.
“At Flinders, we genuinely believe in our mission of changing lives and changing the world for the better,” he said.
Rooftop solar arrays help uni reach net zero emissions
The university stated that the installation will be the first deliverable on its draft sustainability plan. The plan also positions Flinders to achieve net zero emissions from electricity by 2020.
Flinders also aims to reduce campus electricity demand by 30 per cent from a 2015 baseline, through renewable energy generation and battery storage.
Capable of generating 2,700 MW/h of electricity annually, the Flinders solar array is one of Adelaide’s biggest solar projects. The university said it further illustrates South Australia’s position as a national leader in supporting renewable energy.
Scheduled for completion in October 2018, the project will join Adelaide Airport’s 1.2 MW system, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital 1 MW microgrid and the 1 MW rooftop system at the Royal Adelaide showgrounds in boosting the state’s renewable energy generation.