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SA Water goes solar for pipeline

A major water pipeline in South Australia is now being powered by more than 34,000 solar panels as part of SA Water’s initiative to reduce its costs while simultaneously cutting carbon emissions.

The Murray Bridge to Onkaparinga Pipeline’s second pump station in Rocky Gully has been stocked with thousands of solar panels that will provide it with power. Around 25,600 MWh of green electricity will be generated by the photovoltaic panels.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Zero Cost Energy Future, Nicola Murphy, said the use of solar panels for the 50 km-long pipeline, which supplies metropolitan Adelaide, will reduce carbon emissions by about 11,000 tonnes a year.

“Now connected to our assets, these solar panels will significantly help to sustainably reduce our operating electricity costs and reliance on the national electricity grid, without compromising on the performance this vital pipeline plays in delivering trusted water for our customers,” Murphy said.

“The annual solar generation capacity is significant, with the 34,272 panels able to generate the equivalent energy capacity to power more than 4000 average South Australian households.

“When you consider our annual electricity expenses reached more than $80 million in recent years, being able to harness large-scale renewable energy assets such as this will help to make a difference in reducing these significant costs over the coming years.

“This initiative was designed by our people and shows South Australians leading the way with the smarts and skills to integrate renewable energy across existing plants, pump stations and other land holdings.”

SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future initiative has seen hundreds of thousands of solar panels installed across 33 SA Water treatment plants, water tanks, pump stations and depots across the state. The sustainable energy endeavour is currently one of the largest renewable energy projects for the water industry worldwide and was given the Project Innovation Award at the 2022 Australian Water Awards.

Image credit: SA Water

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