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Project Summary 
System size27.5kW
Solar panel capacity250W
Daily average system output115.5kWh solar contribution per day
Inverters3 x SMA TriPower 10,000TL
System monitoringA custom ECG system


ZEN Energy’s innovative design assists the University of Adelaide in its quest to become green. ZEN’s specialist solar team installed a 27.5kW (110 panels) solar system on the roof of the University of Adelaide’s Ingkarni Wardli Building in early 2013. The system was designed to offset a percentage of the building’s power needs, helping the university in its quest to become a green university.

About the project

The $100 million Ingkarni Wardli Building is part of the University of Adelaide’s North Terrace campus. Home to the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, the centre boasts world-class learning and research facilities and has a strong focus on preserving the environment.

The nine-storey building was the first education centre in Australia to be awarded a 6 Green Star rating when it opened in 2010. The rating was awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia – a national, not-for-profit organisation that encourages the adoption of green building practices.

The centre’s environmentally sustainable design features include an extensive underground rainwater harvesting system, orientation to make the most of natural light and thermal chimneys. The building already had a small solar system on its roof, but wanting to further minimise its environmental footprint the university decided to add to the system. The university engaged engineering consultants Lucid Consulting to undertake a tender for the project.

ZEN’s diverse experience in the solar industry and its professionalism saw the company beat several other solar suppliers to win the contract.

In early 2013, ZEN’s specialist solar team installed 110 panels on the roof of the building, helping the University in its quest to become an Ecoversity – a green university that is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and promoting a campus culture that values sustainable practices and initiatives.

Designing the project

The University of Adelaide’s motivation behind expanding its solar system was to reduce the Ingkarni Wardli Building’s impact on the environment. Saving money on energy costs was a welcome by-product of this.

The biggest barrier for ZEN’s specialist solar team in installing the system was how to safely secure the campus, which is used seven days a week by students. In consultation with university staff, it was decided to undertake the bulk of the work on the weekend, when the university was at its quietest. This allowed ZEN to safely operate a crane to install the system with minimal disruption to staff and students.

The 27.5kW solar energy system has the potential to generate up to 30 per cent of the electricity used by the 11,000 square metre building.

How the system works

The 110 panels are fixed to the roof of the building on angular frames. ZEN’s expert solar team decided to use the angle frames to tilt the panels to be north facing, maximising the amount of energy the system generates.

The 27.5kW ZEN solution was kept at this capacity to meet a requirement the university has with the SA Power Networks that solar power cannot provide any more than 30 per cent of the building’s base load requirements.

Project outcomes

The project was delivered by ZEN’s specialist solar team on time and on the budget. The University of Adelaide plans on using the solar system in its marketing, to further promote the world-class campus as a sustainable centre.

The ZEN Energy solution also has spin-off benefits for the building’s engineering, mathematical science and computer students, who will incorporate the data produced by the system, such as panel output and CO2 saved, in their learning.

The University of Adelaide’s Senior Technical Officer (Mechanical Electrical) Damon Golledge said the project had been a success.

“It’s been a great project and a great profile for ZEN and us.”

Damon Golledge | University of Adelaide’s Senior Technical Officer (Mechanical Electrical)

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