SA Water Solar Panel Rollout Update

SA Water solar energy initiative

Work has begun on installing 30,000 solar panels at Happy Valley Reservoir Reserve in Adelaide’s south and a bunch of solar panels were recently installed at SA Water sites on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

Happy Valley Reservoir was completed in 1897 and holds 12.6 gigalitres – enough to fill 6,300 Olympic swimming pools. The reservoir reserve is one of 33 SA Water sites across South Australia that will collectively host 500,000 solar panels under the utility’s Zero Cost Energy Future project.

The Happy Valley project involves ground-mounted solar panels installed in the northern section of the reservoir reserve, at the corner of Black and South Road. Early site preparation including the planting of native vegetation along South Road had already begun prior to works starting on the solar panel installation side of things this week.

SA Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said SA Water engaged with local residents throughout the design stage and that the solar farm was reconfigured to fit in a smaller area, with a 40-metre buffer of pine trees to be retained between the panels and nearby Black Road.

“This is a fantastic result which still enables SA Water to achieve its energy management target as well as preserve and enhance the surrounding natural environment,” stated Minister Speirs.

More native grasses, shrub seeds and tubestocks are to be planted along Black Road during the summer. The vegetation will not only help screen the solar panels from view, it will also provide wind protection and support local wildlife.

Another example of SA Water’s revegetation work is a project involving the sowing of 980 kilograms of seed from low-growing grasses and saltbush species at PV projects at five regional SA Water pump stations.

The Happy Valley Reservoir solar energy project is expected to be completed in six months.

Eyre Peninsula Solar Power Progress

In other news relating to SA Water’s PV rollout, the utility announced yesterday 1,300 solar panels are now helping to power its operations on the Eyre Peninsula.

Roof and ground-mounted panels have been installed at SA Water sites in Port Lincoln, Kimba, Lock, Arno Bay and Caralue Bluff.  According to SA Water’s Nicola Murphy, the installations combined will generate 770 megawatt hours of solar electricity each year.

“Despite COVID-19, we’ve been able to complete our EP solar sites because we had the solar panels ready to go, and followed the guidelines for delivery of construction programs,” said Ms. Murphy. “It’s a great outcome which has kept our contracting partners and suppliers in jobs working on large-scale projects that have flow-on benefits to the South Australian economy while supporting local Eyre Peninsula businesses.”

To date, 150,000 solar panels have been installed as part of the Zero Cost Energy Future initiative and SA Water appears confident all panels will be in place by the end of this year. Considering there are 350,000 panels left to be installed and less than four-and-a-half months until the end of the year, it will be quite an achievement if accomplished.

SA Water estimates the 500,000 solar panels will generate a total of 242 gigawatt hours of electricity annually.

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.

Comments

  1. Chris Thaler says

    Excellent behaviour by a gov’t dep’t. Next stage should be to install floating panels on suitable sections of the water storage areas to both minimise evaporation and increase yield.

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