According to its chief, the SA Water solar program’s latest solar power goal will deliver zero net electricity costs by 2020.

The corporation is looking to install 152 MW of solar PV, along with 35 megawatt-hours of battery storage at 70 of its sites across the state.

The aim, according to SA Water CEO Roch Cheroux, 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.”

Banking on solar for energy savings

SA Water powers ahead with the solar plan to reach net zero electricity costs by 2020.

SA Water manages more than 27,000 km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area.

It also maintains Adelaide’s North South Interconnection System, a vast network of pipelines connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs’ water supply.

Last year, the company sought tenders to build a grid-connected solar power system above 100 kW in size. In addition, the tender called for a 50 kWh battery storage unit at its Crystal Brook Depot.

In December 2017, SA Water invested a further $10 million to install 6MW of solar panels across water treatment plants in Adelaide.

The first of these installations is set to begin at Christies Beach wastewater plant next month.

SA Water solar program: targeting net-zero electricity costs

SA Water says an independent review of the net-zero solar plan has confirmed its feasibility.

Since 2013, the company has harnessed biogas and hydroelectricity measures to cut $3 million per year from its operating costs.

“The maturity of solar technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive operations,” said Roch.

The SA Water solar program is seeking suppliers to provide solar arrays ranging in size from 100 kW to 13 MW.

“We’re now looking to hear from experienced and capable suppliers who can help deliver [arrays] at metropolitan and regional locations.”

After that, it will source storage. This process is being informed through a series of thermal, flywheel and battery trials with specialist technology partners.