ZEN Energy readies to build 2.3 MW rooftop solar array at Tonsley

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A former car manufacturing site at Tonsley in Adelaide is set to host a 2.3 MW rooftop solar array with ZEN Energy on board to deliver the project. The installation compassing over 7,400 solar panels will form the first stage of wider plans to deliver up to 6 MW of solar at the site, which is being redeveloped to include housing and businesses.

After the site was bought by the South Australian Government a decade ago, plans were made to turn Tonsley into a climate smart precinct. The plans involved an energy production and trading scheme, which would use energy generated by about 20,000 solar PV panels installed on the eight-hectare roof of the former Mitsubishi factory building and adjoining TAFE SA building.

The Tonsley District Energy Scheme is being delivered by Enwave Energy, a subsidiary of utilities provider Enwave Australia, which has pledged to invest about $40 million over a 50-year period for PV, battery storage, smart technologies and future electrical assets. Under the deal inked earlier this week, Enwave Energy will subcontract ZEN Energy to instal the first phase solar array.

“We are extremely proud to have won the contract for this landmark energy project and to be delivering one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays,” said SIMEC Energy Australia CEO Marc Barrington. “Once it’s completed, our installation will work hand in hand with a range of other technologies in the Tonsley District Energy Scheme to showcase how the benefits of renewable energy can be integrated across an entire community.”

ZEN Energy, a division of Simec Energy Australia, a member of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, plans to soon commence works and use a fully South Australian based workforce to deliver the installation by early next year. The 3.2 MW system is expected to generate up to 3.2 million kWh every year over its lifetime.

Once fully constructed, the solar installation will work in sync with an on-site battery and smart network design services provided by Siemens. Businesses at Tonsley will have the choice to buy their electricity from Enwave Energy at competitive market rates or from the energy retailer of their choice.

The Tonsley site 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. “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,” Renewal SA General Manager Property Mark Devine said last year, when plans to contract ZEN Energy were originally revealed.