SA Water plans 152MW solar, 35MWh storage to slash bills to zero

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SA Water plans to install 152MW solar PV and 35MWh of storage by 2020 to slash its electricity bill, previously forecast to reach $55 million, to zero.

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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

“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.


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  1. Jon 2 years ago

    Another indication that Government Policy is become irrelevant in the power generation mix debate.
    Businesses (private and public) and private individuals will go with what makes economic sense to them, in most cases that will be RE based technology with its zero marginal cost.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Just like in the U.S of the A where despite ‘Stormy Donald’ the business of RE is getting done.

    • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

      Eventually they will be building a new coal plant for no customers at the rate they are going

  2. Chris Drongers 2 years ago

    Would this be equivalent to about 30MW of baseload demand? That is about 10 *3MW *1/3 capacity factor = 30 wind turbines. Or 15 of those idle diesels.
    The key is storage and timing pumping operations – any elevated storage can be pumped uphill during the day and distribution fed by gravity at night (Perth in WA does a lot of this). Adding a hydropower turbine as a pressure reducer is possible on larger, higher storages .
    Why stop there ? Plenty of water easements that could carry powerlines, solar panels make reasonable water runoff catchments. SA Water could become a minor electricity trader.
    Good news.

  3. Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe 2 years ago

    Saving 55 million is a very worthy goal, i assume thats per year?
    Also how much will the system cost to install?

  4. Norm 2 years ago

    Solar power is good. But rural towns are far better off with each its own plant.
    This power would be best generated with solar steam . With stored steam we have power 24/7.. vast solar arrays only work 6hrs per day depending on weather..
    Battery storage is a long term horror, the environmental cost of production and recycle???

  5. Norm 2 years ago

    Ice is the best long term water storage. Australia has none the last glacier left 500years ago.. Australia is 4/5ths semi desert. Rain usually arrives too little or much wrong time wrong place.. Look at history!!
    99% of our rains swiftly drain away.. We build large dams , never networks of small weirs to conserve the water as the floods subside .. if this were done the ground water would be replenished as we pump it out… Then recycle hydro planted might survive..
    … IF each and every person of your town or city only used and flushed
    50 litres per day ?? What would be the total volume of polluted water wasted??
    What a mess we’ve made… Eight Billion humans and counting… Old atom bomb attack. In the event, squat down in the toilet doorway, put a pillow overcyour head,
    Head between your knees and kiss your assessment goodbye…
    We have the answers,, shame haven’t the will..
    The difference tween intelligent and smart.. ignorance can be changed ,, dumb is forever!!

  6. Norm 2 years ago

    ???? The cost / output ratio of wind turbines… These are a highly visible joke!!

    • Peter F 2 years ago

      Modern wind farms including substations and grid connections cost about $1.6-2 m per MW and deliver between 3,200 and 4,800 MWh per year per MW of capacity. i.e. about 2,200 MWh per $m invested. A modern coal pant will cost between $3.2 and $5 m /MW and deliver between 5,000 and 6,200 MWh/MW/y i.e. 1,300 MWh per $m invested

  7. Norm 2 years ago

    Thousands of wind turbines and hundreds of square kilometres of solar panels and square kls of batteries.. pollution on a grand scale. The panacea for the masses..
    All this only works when the wind blows and the sun shines…
    There more cost efficient and far cheaper methods of using both and ocean surge to provide power 24/7…
    Over population is bringing use to our knees…
    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience.
    I know no way of judging the future but by the past…… Patrick Henry…1775

  8. Norm 2 years ago

    If smaller communities want cheaper power supply , they should have their own system and backup. Rather thousands of KL of quite vulnerable and costly grids. The kiss principal is always best

  9. Greg Hudson 2 years ago

    ”It expects this will slash its electricity bill, previously forecast to reach $55 million, to zero.”
    There’s a BIG ‘ouch’ coming for one or more retailers is my guess. Not too many electricity retailers would be happy with a $55m hit to their bottom line. Oh wait… I forgot… They will just jack up the prices for everyone else…

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