Western Water has switched on the new 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array at the Melton Recycled Water Plant.
Solar power generated from the array will provide up to 100% of the Melton plant’s energy needs during the day and complements the biogas produced onsite. This enables the plant to produce up to 50% of the power required to operate the facility 24 hours per day.
During the peak summer period, the solar array enhances the plant’s ability to export excess energy to the power grid, providing extra capacity to the state’s electricity network.
The solar array reduces Western Water’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 15,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide or 630 tonnes per year over the next 25 years. This is consistent with Victorian Government policy that calls for a carbon neutral state economy by 2050. The array also has electricity savings of $110,000 per annum or $3 million over 25 years.
The project has community support. During engagement for the 2018 Price Submission, the community said there should be more investment in renewable energy projects to reduce emissions — the solar array achieves that objective.
1368 solar panels were installed covering an area of 4,000 square metres, which is equivalent to about three Olympic sized swimming pools.