More than 34,000 solar panels are now powering Murray Bridge, one of SA Water’s major water pipelines, as part of the utility’s award-winning renewable energy initiative, which is reducing operating costs and slashing carbon emissions.
Installed at the Murray Bridge to Onkaparinga Pipeline’s second pump station in Rocky Gully, the large-scale photovoltaic panels will generate around 25,600MWh of clean, green solar electricity per year.
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As the second pipeline constructed to supply drinking water to metropolitan Adelaide, the 50km-long Murray Bridge to Onkaparinga Pipeline carries raw water from the River Murray through to the Mount Bold Reservoir and water treatment plants in Kanmantoo and Balhannah in the Adelaide Hills.
SA Water senior manager of zero cost energy future Nicola Murphy said the site would achieve a carbon emissions reduction of around 11,000 tonnes each 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 4,000 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.”
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SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future initiative has seen more than 360,000 solar panels installed across 33 SA Water treatment plants, water tanks, pump stations and depots across the state.
One of the largest renewable energy projects in the global water industry, the project was recently recognised with the Project Innovation Award at this year’s Australian Water Awards in Brisbane.