SA Water solar program’s latest solar power goal will deliver zero net electricity costs by 2020, according to its chief.
Along with 35 megawatt-hours of battery storage at 70 of its sites across the state, the corporation is set to installing 152 MW of solar PV.
SA Water CEO Roch Cheroux said that the aim is to neutralize the company’s electricity costs, which rose to $55 million in 2016-17.
“Big operational circuit breakers like this are essential to achieving savings and future price reductions,” Roch said. Savings would then flow to customers in the form of lower water bills.
“Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, [and] significantly reduce our network charges.”
The corporation manages more than 27,000 km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area, as well as maintaining Adelaide’s North-South Interconnection System, a vast network of pipelines connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs’ water supply.
The company sought tenders to build a grid-connected solar power system above 100 kW in size last year. In addition, the tender called for a 50 kWh battery storage unit at its Crystal Brook Depot.
SA Water also invested a further $10 million to install 6MW of solar panels across water treatment plants in Adelaide last December.
“The maturity of off-grid solar kits technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive operations,” said Roch.
Since 2013, the company has harnessed biogas and hydroelectricity measures to cut $3 million per year from its operating costs.
“We’re now looking to hear from experienced and capable suppliers who can help deliver [arrays] at metropolitan and regional locations.”
The solar program is seeking suppliers to provide solar arrays ranging in size from 100 kW to 13 MW.
After that, it will source storage. This process is being informed through a series of thermal, flywheel and battery trials with specialist technology partners.