A local company has been awarded the multi-million-dollar contract to install half-a-million solar panels across 80 SA Water sites over the next two years.
Enerven will install 154 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic generation and 34 megawatt hours of energy storage under the framework agreement.
Tonsley-based SAGE Automation has been subcontracted to deliver and control and monitoring systems on the project.
Installation of the new solar arrays will take priority, with energy storage devices to follow after the results of trials with traditional and thermal devices have determined the most suitable technology combinations.
Enerven is expected to mobilise to the first group of sites, including facilities such as the Bolivar Treatment Plant and Morgan Water Treatment Plan, in early 2019.
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This investment will increase the total of SA Water’s solar generation capacity to approximately 160 megawatts.
The investment in more than 500,000 solar panels is also expected to deliver a return on investment in six years and help the utility reach its goal of achieving zero net electricity costs from 2020.
SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said neutralising large operating costs like electricity – which reached $62 million in 2017/18 – will help deliver low and stable prices for customers.
“Our bigger picture is a zero cost energy future, where we regain control over one of our single largest operational expenses. There’s no doubt our ambitious goal will be a stretch, but we won’t lose sight of it,” Cheroux said.
“We provide 1.7 million people across South Australia with safe, clean drinking water and reliable sewerage services, every day, and the water and wastewater treatment and pumping operations behind this are very energy intensive and make us one of the biggest electricity users in the state.
South Australian Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the project is expected to support around 250 jobs during construction.
“The scale and complexity of this landmark program will deliver opportunities for local businesses across a range of sectors, drawing on South Australian excellence in everything from civil works through to security services, engineering and project management, to high-tech system automation.”