SA solar-lithium ‘microgrid’ to supply wholesale market

The South Australian Produce Market will install 1,600 solar panels and a large lithium-ion battery on their facility at Pooraka, in an investment set to save stallholders more than $500,000 a year on their power bills.

The $10.5 million microgrid, which will be constructed with the help of a $2.5 million State Government Energy Productivity Program grant, is understood to be the largest private solar PV system in South Australia.

The system will supply all of the wholesale market’s energy needs and will also feed surplus power into the broader grid, relieving peak demand and putting downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians.

The microgrid will comprise of a 4.2MW lithium-ion battery, 2.5MW solar PV system and 2.5MW onsite generator and at full capacity will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4,500 homes.

The project will cut greenhouse gas emissions from the site by 2,637 tons each year.

“Pairing solar panels with batteries not only reduces power costs for businesses, it also reduces demand on the grid, putting downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians,” said South Australian Energy minister, Tom Koutsantonis.

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“South Australia is at the forefront of advances in the deployment of this technology and projects like this one at the SA Produce Market demonstrate how much can be saved by investing in solar and batteries.”

It is anticipated market stallholders will save up to $5.5 million over the next 10 years compared to the current retail offers available in South Australia.

The control system for the site is being developed by local South Australian company AZZO. The microgrid will be fully operational by late 2018 and will create about 40 jobs during construction.

“This project would not have been possible without the $2.5 million Energy Productivity Program grant and support of the South Australian Government,” said SA Produce Market CEO, Angelo Demasi.

“We want to ensure we can continue to provide affordable fresh produce on a local and global platform and this initiative means we can do it with an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manor using an innovative solution.”