Adelaide Uni to add 2MWh vanadium battery system, 1.2MW solar

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One Step Off The Grid

The University of Adelaide, in South Australia, has become the latest in a line of tertiary institutions to announce plans to install solar and battery storage in a move to cut costs and dependence on the grid.

In an project backed by the state Labor government, the University will install 1.2MW of solar and a 0.5MW/2MWh vanadium flow redox battery system at its Roseworthy campus, about an hour’s drive north of the Adelaide CBD.

SA energy minister Tom Koutsantonis says the Weatherill government is contributing $780,000 from its Renewable Technology Fund to the $5.76 million solar and battery project, which would combine to cut the campus grid supply by 40 per cent.

As well as cutting University power costs and emissions, Koutsantonis says the project would reduce network demand at peak times and thus put downward pressure on the state’s power prices.

According to University of Adelaide COO Bruce Lines, the saving on the grid from the Roseworthy system would be the equivalent to “switching off the power at more than 370 Adelaide homes for an entire year.”

Lines said the project would also help the university test the performance and reliability of the battery storage technology in hot, dry conditions, which would serve the greater interests of the industry and community.

The University of Adelaide has had experience in battery testing already, having teamed up with ARENA in 2015 to develop an online energy storage R&D hub as well as a mobile energy storage test facility.

The new solar and battery storage project will create 23 jobs during construction, and one ongoing position, while the University will conduct three research projects across three years, revolving around the battery system.

The solar and storage will also be used in various courses for studies in remote energy management, energy storage and load flex.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to improve energy sustainability at our Roseworthy campus,” Lines said in comments on Tuesday.

“This is a part of a suite of emissions reduction projects under the University’s Campus Sustainability Plan.

“The installation of a state-of-the-art battery storage system in addition to our solar energy project at Roseworthy campus will greatly reduce our reliance on grid electricity, and builds on an existing commitment towards the Carbon Neutral Adelaide program,” he said.

Schools and universities around Australia have been some of the biggest adopters of commercial solar and battery storage in the past few years in Australia, as both major cost savers and cutting edge teaching aides for students.

Last week, the University of Newcastle, in NSW, said plans were underway to install 2MW of solar at its Callaghan Campus, to slash energy costs and serve as a “living laboratory.”

And Monash University in Victoria is completing work on a solar and battery storage based renewable energy microgrid at its Clayton Campus, as it works towards a target of 100 per cent renewables.

Schools are following suit. In Perth, Christ Church Grammar School is installing a 670kW solar system on its Claremont Campus, a move it says was motivated both by economics and ethics.

And in Melbourne, Camberwell Grammar School has nearly finished installing an even bigger rooftop solar system, at around 900kW.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

  • George Darroch

    A MW here and a MW there soon add up. These are exciting developments, particularly as they’re mostly pilot systems which will presumably be scaled up again with a few years.

  • George Michaelson

    Simon Hackett is a S.A. businessman. He’s well known as a tech entrepreneur and investor in the state, he works hard for the state, he did a huge amount to bootstrap regional telecommunications jobs in the state. Isn’t it a bit of a kick in the teeth to go vanadium redox, and not invest in ZCell?

    (not an investor btw)

    • crazy biologist

      Yeah, it’s an interesting decision. Maybe they’re not keen on tanks of bromine? Or maybe they want to avoid the preventative maintenance steps needed to stop the formation of zinc dendrites which can damage the membrane? They’re simple steps though and shouldn’t be an impediment. I don’t know.

  • Sir Pete o Possums Reek

    I am going to go with :
    Its great to have another large scale battery technology under supervised test conditions. Especially if its a flow battery.

    A quick look around shows that this wont be your 1980’s version .
    Sadly it had to be run up overseas before somebody else in Australia would have a go.
    Though I guess if you have “cheap coal” its simply easier to keep breaking dem rocks.