Kimba, Lock key to solar power move

SOLAR FUTURE: Nicola Murphy with one of SA Water's existing solar arrays.
SOLAR FUTURE: Nicola Murphy with one of SA Water's existing solar arrays.

Kimba and Lock are among towns SA Water has earmarked for the deployment of renewable energy infrastructure which could lower water prices for South Australians.

In a bid to eventually achieve zero cost energy, the company will install around 450 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar photovoltaic panels across its sites in the region.

Nicola Murphy, senior manager of SA Water's zero cost energy future program said the panels would be installed in the next 12 months and they would have a positive impact on electricity costs.

"We're delivering initiatives to keep our operations as efficient as possible to help keep customers' water prices as low and stable as possible," Ms Murphy said.

"Large operational circuit breakers like this are essential to achieving saving and future price reductions."

She said the water company was one of the biggest electricity users in the state, giving it the opportunity to make a difference to the environment by investing in renewable energy.

The new infrastructure, which also includes energy storage devices, will allow the company to generate and store its own energy on its sites.

From there, the company will be able to reduce costs from reliance on grid electricity and offset remaining grid costs by selling their energy back to the market at appropriate times.

"Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, significantly reduce our network charges and isolate our business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term", Ms Murphy said.

The investment will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 89,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of planting 7 million trees.

"Importantly, our progressive leap forward will help demonstrate the way renewable generation can be integrated at large utility scale, and help the global transition to a low-carbon future."