Roseworthy Solar and Energy Storage Project Fully Operational

Roseworthy Solar And Storage project

The University of Adelaide officially opened a $7 million solar and energy storage project at its Roseworthy campus last week.

Located 50 kilometres north of its Adelaide CBD campus and 7 kilometres west of Roseworthy, the campus is located on a 1,600 hectare property and is the major centre for animal and veterinary science research in South Australia.

The biggest PV facility for the University to date, work on the Roseworthy Solar and Energy Storage Project commenced in August 2019 and was partly funded by a $778,500 grant from the South Australian Government’s $150M Renewable Technology Fund.

“The Project is another step on the path to reach 100% net renewable energy by 2030, which will help us meet both our energy needs and Australia’s Paris climate emission agreements,” said SA Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan, who attended the opening.

The project incorporated:

  • A 1.2MW solar farm consisting of 3,200 solar panels.
  • Campus internal power network upgrade – from low-voltage to high-voltage support.
  • Integration of digital twin microgrid infrastructure.
  • 420kW/1200kWh of battery storage, made up of Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion and UniEnergy Technologies (UET) vanadium flow batteries.
Tesla Powerpack

Tesla Powerpack battery system

UET vanadium flow battery

UET vanadium flow batteries

While officially opened last Thursday, the project has been operational since late April. On its first full day of operation, solar energy offset nearly 90% of the Roseworthy campus’s electrical load – but this occurred during mid-semester break. The system is expected to generate an average of 42% of the campus’s energy needs.

There’s a lot to power at Roseworthy – including animal hospitals, teaching labs, lecture theatres and offices, research facilities and student housing. A generation forecast wasn’t provided, but at a rough estimate a 1.2MW PV system installed in Roseworthy could crank around 5,130 kilowatt-hours a day; or 1,873,125 kilowatt-hours annually.

A “Living Laboratory”

In addition to supporting the goals of the University’s Campus Sustainability Plan, there will also be a wide range of research opportunities associated with the project.

Among them is observing how the two battery technologies perform in very hot conditions. It’s the perfect spot to do so as it can get rather toasty at Roseworthy during the summer months – on January 24 2019, the temperature reached 48.3°C. Tesla says its Powerpack (and also Powerwall) battery system is designed to withstand operating ambient temperatures up to 50°C.

Other research opportunities include energy management, grid segregation, low-cost fault detection systems, system resilience and cybersecurity. Professor Wayne Hein, Dean of the Roseworthy campus, said different aspects of the project could be incorporated into many courses – everything from engineering and space through to environmental science.

“The Roseworthy Solar Farm is not just a project that delivers 42% of the Roseworthy energy load and helps us reduce our carbon emissions,” said Libby Hogarth, Sustainable Development Planner. “This project is really the embodiment of the living laboratory concept. This is where we bring together our researchers, our campus community and the infrastructure branch to deliver a project on our campus that supports all of us.”

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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