Western Water constructed a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array at the Melton Recycled Water Plant
Cost: $1.4 million
Expected Completion Date: December 2019
Western Water has built a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array at the Melton Recycled Water Plant. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 15,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide and together with biogas enable the plant to produce up to 50% of the power required to operate the facility.
The solar array reduces Western Water’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 15,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide or an average of 630 tonnes per year over the next 25 years, which is the expected life of the asset. Western Water in 2017 adopted a greenhouse reduction target of 10 percent.
Electricity generated from solar complements the biogas currently produced at the plant, which collectively enables the plant to produce up to 50% of the power required to operate the facility at all times (night and day).
When operating at full output, the solar panels will produce enough electricity to provide up to 100% of the plant’s energy needs during the day.
Solar array will result in electricity savings of $110,000 per annum or $3 million over 25 years.
The solar array enhances the plant’s ability to export excess energy to the power grid, particularly during peak summer demand, providing extra capacity to the state’s electricity network.
Western Water’s customers told us to invest in renewable energy projects. As part of an online survey for Price Submission 2018, the most frequent response to the question ‘What should Western Water do to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions?’ was ‘Invest in large scale renewable energy projects (wind and solar)’.
Western Water’s reduction target is in line with current Victorian Government policy that calls for a carbon neutral state economy by 2050. As the water industry constitutes a significant proportion of the Victorian government’s emissions, water authorities have developed 2025 greenhouse gas reduction pledges.
As part of construction, 1368 solar panels were installed covering an area of 4,000 square metres, which is equivalent to about three Olympic sized swimming pools.
Western Water Managing Director Jeff Rigby (below left) was joined by State Member for Melton, Steve McGhie to officially open the plant on 11 December 2019.