SA Water has reached an agreement to deploy 500,000 solar panels, plus energy storage at 70 of its sites.
Last year, SA Water announced it would use solar power to achieve net-zero electricity costs by 2020. The corporation is one of South Australia’s largest consumers of energy. In the year 2017-18, its power bill came in at $62 million.
Local company Enerven sought and won the contract to install 154 MW of new solar generation. The framework agreement also includes 34 MW of backup energy storage.
SA Water solar panels for wastewater treatment plants
SA Water expects to roll out around half a million solar panels over 18 months, and for the project to deliver returns within six years.
Work will begin at the first group of sites over the next six months. These include large facilities like the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant and Morgan Water Treatment Plant.
SA Water chief Roch Cheroux said the savings would then translate to lower and more stable prices for customers.
‘Zero Cost Energy Future’ realised with solar power
SA Water has committed $304 million to the latest and largest, rollout of its solar program. The addition of 154 MW of solar PV increases the total of SA Water’s solar generation capacity to 160 MW.
In December 2017, SA Water invested $10 million to install 6 MW of solar panels across water treatment plants in Adelaide.
Solar investment shines on local economy
Enerven won a multi-stage procurement process for the project. The agreement also includes provisions for engagement with Aboriginal businesses, apprentice training and utilising domestic supply chains.
In a statement, Enerven said it has begun installation of 4MW of ground mount solar at three of SA Water’s largest facilities.
In addition, Tonsley-based contractor, SAGE Automation has landed a key role in delivering control and monitoring systems to the project.
SA Water manages more than 27,000 km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area. Cheroux says its priority is to deploy solar arrays at city and regional locations. After that, it will source storage, following results of trials with specialist partners using different technologies.