Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day, But Solar Farms Can Be

Clever Australian solar power technology enables the rapid deployment – and redeployment if required – of solar panels for large-scale installations. See the 5B Maverick system at work.

— Transcript begins

Finn: For this month’s Solar Tech, we’re focusing on 5B Maverick, the flagship solar product for Sydney tech innovator, 5B. And specifically, we’re looking at how SA Water in South Australia is using the world-leading technology to power its Happy Valley water treatment plant, which supplies 40% of Adelaide’s drinking water.

Nicola: Hello, I’m Nicola Murphy and I’d like to tell you about the solar installation that we’ve built at the Happy Valley Reservoir, where we’ve installed a very interesting system called the 5B Maverick.

The panels on that system are just the same as the 367,000 panels we’ve installed across the whole of the state. But they’re mounted a little bit differently on a redeployable system: the Maverick or the 5B Maverick system. 5B are an Australian manufacturer – so, they’ve designed that racking system here in Australia.

So, those panels are fully moveable. We were able to bring in the panels that had been previously mounted onto a racking system, bring them on a back of a truck and roll them out in a day. That system at Happy Valley is around 30,000 panels. This currently is the world’s largest installation of this type of racking system and generates just about 16,000 megawatt hours of energy generation per annum.

And that’s more than double than that plant at Happy Valley actually uses, which is great because we can export any excess generation that we make there to the grid, or we can store it in some of the batteries that we’ve got on that site.

We’ve installed around 33 sites across the state, from small rooftop systems up to really massive solar farms. And they’re pretty impressive because you stand at one end of the paddock and all you can see are row upon row upon row of solar panels. And so that would take us up to a 32 megawatt system.

The challenge to keep our massive $86 million a year electricity bill as low and as stable as possible doesn’t stop. And so we will continue to find new and innovative ways to supply that electricity to ourselves and export any excess.

— Transcript ends

This segment is from Episode 11 of SolarQuotes TV: The Australian-Made Solar Edition, where we shine a spotlight on Australian solar tech transforming the global renewable energy scene .

More On SA Water’s Solar Rollout And 5B Maverick

SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future initiative involves the installation of a total of around 154 megawatts of solar power capacity along with 34 MWh of battery storage. Solar installed under the program is expected to generate 242 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity a year. SA Water says all the panels laid end-to-end would stretch more than 740 kilometres, which is a little more than the distance between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The 5B Maverick pre-wired and pre-configured “solar farm in-a-box” approach offers significant reductions in deployment times compared to conventional fixed-mount and tracker based systems. As for how fast Maverick can be rolled out with minimum workers, in September 5B reported two crews of three people were able to install 578kW in a single day.

We can expect to see a lot more of Maverick; particularly given it is the technology of choice for Sun Cable’s proposed massive 10GW farm in the Northern Territory. Currently, each 5B Maverick array (MAV) can consist of up to 90 x 550W solar panels. Sun Cable’s 10GW capacity would translate to around 18.2 million panels affixed to 202,000 MAVs.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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