SA Water has awarded a $304 million contract to local equipment company, Enerven to install roughly half-a-million solar panels across South Australia.
The framework agreement will see Enerven (a wholly owned subsidiary of SA Power Networks) install approximately 154 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic generation and 34-megawatt hours of energy storage across almost 80 SA Water sites over the next two years.
The investment in more than 500,000 solar panels is expected to deliver a return on investment in six years, and help SA Water reach its ambitious goal of achieving zero net electricity costs from 2020.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the project is also expected to support approximately 250 jobs during construction and include engagement with Aboriginal businesses, and training and opportunity for apprentices in South Australia.
“The scale and complexity of this landmark program will deliver opportunities for local businesses across a range of sectors, drawing on South Australian excellence in everything from civil works through to security services, engineering and project management, to high-tech system automation,” said Minister Speirs.
SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux added that neutralising large operating costs such as electricity – which reached $62 million in 2017-18 – will help them to deliver low and stable prices for customers.
“We provide 1.7 million people across South Australia with safe, clean drinking water and reliable sewerage services every day, and the water and wastewater treatment and pumping operations behind this are very energy intensive and make us one of the biggest electricity users in the state,” he said.
“This is an important milestone for our energy management activities, and boots getting ready to hit the ground are a signal that we’ll soon start seeing benefit realisation, as the new sites are progressively energised.”
Enerven is expected to mobilise to the first group of sites, such as the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant and Morgan Water Treatment Plant, in early 2019.