Switch flicked on Australia’s largest floating solar array

Floating solar panels at Gippsland Water's Drouin wastewater treatment plant
Image: Gippsland Water

Gippsland Water in regional Victoria has switched on the largest floating solar array in Australia at the Drouin Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The 350kW system features 644 individual solar panels and floats on one of the plant’s treatment lagoons.

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Acting managing director Simon Aquilina said the solar panels were part of the organisation’s commitment to renewable energy targets.

“These solar panels will help us reach our renewable energy target of 100 per cent by 2025 and contribute to achieving our target of net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2030. They also positively impact the wastewater treatment process by reducing evaporation,” he said.

“Solar energy helps reduce our operating costs and puts downward pressure on customer water bills. It also helps reduce our emissions.

“At peak capacity, the solar array can fully power the treatment plant, producing enough kilowatts to power nearly 90 homes per day.”

Gippsland Water is undertaking several innovative projects on the path to net-zero, with solar power a major focus.

Last year a 1,200kW solar array was switched on at the Gippsland Water Factory in Maryvale.

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Drouin is the eighth Gippsland Water facility to be partially powered by solar energy.

The floating solar panels are part of a $55 million upgrade to Drouin wastewater treatment plant. While the upgraded plant became operational in 2022, the floating solar panels are one of the finishing touches.

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