One of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays to be built in SA

Tonsley Innovation District

Boasting approximately 20,000 solar PV panels, one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays will be built in South Australia.

The District Energy Scheme, located at Tonsley Innovation District, will involve the installation of the panels on the 8ha roofs of the main assembly building and the adjoining TAFE SA building.

The project will have a total installed capacity of up to 6MW providing power for Tonsley businesses, organisations and residents.

Tonsley is managed by Renewal SA on behalf of the state government and is the home of leading firms in the renewable energy sector, including SIMEC ZEN Energy, Tesla, AZZO and Siemens.

Renewal SA general manager property Mark Devine said the District Energy Scheme would further consolidate the district’s role as a hub for investment and innovation in this sector.

“To help make the most of this on-site expertise, Enwave Energy will subcontract SIMEC ZEN Energy to install and maintain the solar panels infrastructure and will engage Siemens to provide smart network design services,” Mr Devine said.

“Initially, the District Energy Scheme will include access to electricity and recycled water services for the entire Tonsley community and, gas and domestic hot water services for the residential community only.

“There are also plans to expand the scheme to include a thermal network for the entire site for building space heating and cooling requirements.”

Enwave Energy has been selected to deliver a renewable energy solution for Tonsley, in keeping with the district’s commitment to sustainability and innovation and its six-star green star communities rating.

The company will build, own and operate the district energy facility, drawing on its experience in owning and operating similar district energy services at Sydney Central Park and Sydney Airport.

The company will invest approximately $40 million in a 50-year period for battery storage, photovoltaics, smart technologies, and future MAB electrical assets.

The system will optimise solar energy generation and battery storage for the peak load of the entire Tonsley precinct, enhancing security of energy supply and providing competitive energy pricing to all customer classes, including commercial and residential.

Enwave Energy is backed by Enwave Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Infrastructure, which designs, builds, owns and operates water, gas and energy networks for entire communities.

Enwave Australia chief executive Cameron Evans said the company was thrilled to have been chosen as the incumbent utility provider at Tonsley.

“We look forward to working with Renewal SA and local companies to develop innovative solutions for the community’s energy and water needs,’’ he said.

“We aim to create, maintain and provide a smart and sustainable service.

“Our solutions are both cost and resource efficient and because we aren’t encumbered by legacy systems, we pursue all forms of proven technology to deliver the best outcomes possible.”

Businesses at Tonsley have the choice to buy their electricity from Enwave Energy at competitive market rates or from the energy retailer of their choice.

Mr Devine said the Enwave proposal would deliver on Tonsley’s commitment to become a climate smart district.

“It will offer a world class District Energy Scheme, incorporating on-site renewable power generation, battery storage and smart technologies that can be scaled up as the district grows,” he said.

The district is home to more than 30 businesses and more than 150 members of the two co-working spaces on site, plus the Flinders University School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics and TAFE SA.