SA Water’s ambition to go “net zero” electricity costs is undiminished by the new Liberal government in South Australia, with the state-owned utility announcing plans to install 152 megawatts (MW) of solar PV and 35 megawatt hours (MWh) of storage by 2020.
The plans were first unveiled in January, with the announcement of an initial 6MW array, (with one of its first installations pictured above) and followed up in March with plans for some “floating” solar arrays.
SA Water on Monday announced plans to install the 152MW solar PV and 35MWh of storage “behind the meter” across 70 of its sites around the state. It expects this will slash its electricity bill, previously forecast to reach $55 million, to zero.
“Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, significantly reduce our network charges and isolate our business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term,” CEO Roch Cheroux said in a statement.
“The maturity of solar technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive water treatment and pumping operations, and export to the market to returnrevenue.”
SA Water will work first to install the sola arrays while it conducts tenders and trials on various forms of storage, which will include batteries, flywheels and thermal storage.
“We’re now looking to hear from experienced and capable suppliers who can help deliver arrays ranging in size from 100 kilowatts to 13 megawatts, at metropolitan and regional locations.”
An initial Expression of Interest with guidance for prospective vendors is now available through tenders.sa.gov.au.
“Our range of energy initiatives like biogas and hydroelectric generation, and trading as a market participant, has cut more than $3 million a year from our electricity bills since 2013,” Cheroux said.
“Scaling-up our solar capacity will jolt our energy management program towards our goal of zero netelectricity costs by 2020.”
Cheroux said the electricity cost savings would be passed on to customers.
“We’re working hard to keep our customers’ water prices as low and stable as possible, and big operational circuit breakers like this are essential to achieving savings and future price reductions,” he said in a statement.