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Tonsley solar installation reaches important milestone

Work on one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays reached an important milestone this week, with approximately half of the project now generating renewable energy for the Tonsley Innovation District thanks to an innovative delivery scheme developed by the two companies involved in the project.

With almost 4000 panels already laid for the installation by ZEN Energy on behalf of Enwave Australia, the project will ultimately comprise a total installed capacity of 2.34 megawatts delivered by approximately 7400 solar panels across the five-hectare MAB roof at the Tonsley site. Once completed, the system will form one of Australia’s largest single rooftop solar arrays.

The installation is part of Enwave Australia’s Tonsley District Energy Scheme to deliver clean, competitively priced energy to Tonsley tenants and residents via smart renewable technology. Cleantech and renewable energy is one of four industry focus sectors at Tonsley and the district is becoming a national hub for the development of related innovative technology.

Extracting solar energy from the panels as soon as possible has been an important goal of the installation. To achieve this goal, ZEN Energy and Enwave Australia worked together to devise an innovative delivery approach that would allow approximately half of the installation to be commissioned and switched on ahead of time, rather than waiting for the entire installation to be completed as is the practice for more standard delivery models.

As ZEN Energy Technical Manager Daniel Hope explains:

“One of the goals of the Tonsley District Energy Scheme is that at least 30% of all energy consumed on the site will be generated from solar panels mounted on the MAB roof. From day one of the project we were aware and really mindful of this target and made sure that we did all we could to design our delivery method around it.”

“Thanks to the excellent work of our installers, consistent and open dialogue with Enwave Australia, and great engagement with SA Power Networks and the overarching client Renewal SA, we are really pleased to now be at a stage where the first 3800 panels have already been installed and are now already generating clean renewable energy for the site.”

Daniel Hope, Technical Manager, ZEN Energy

Enwave Australia Project Director Ray Egan explained how pleased Enwave Australia was to achieve this important milestone for the project, and what it meant for the goals of the Tonsley District Energy Scheme:

“It is a great achievement by all parties involved to achieve this milestone. By working together as a community, Enwave Tonsley is able to capture value for tenants through economies of scale, efficiency of operations and implementation of innovative technologies and utility services solutions. In the future the network may incorporate battery storage and potential use of hydrogen as well as innovations provided by tenants at Tonsley and beyond.”

Ray Egan, Project Director, Enwave Australia

With the Tonsley District Energy Scheme launched only months ago by the Government of South Australia, Enwave Australia, and ZEN Energy, the milestone marks a fast turnaround from launch to energy generation for the scheme, with work continuing on the installation ahead of an expected completion date for the full solar energy system early in the new year.

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Zen Energy PTY LTD

Sustainable Industries Education
Centre TAFE SA
Building 5, Level 2, Suite 5.2.1
1284 South Road, Tonsley 5042
Adelaide, South Australia

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