Victorian utility installs carpark system at Wodonga headquarters


The solar array, which has been under construction for the last six weeks, is due for completion at the end of the month, with the array expected to be connected to the grid shortly after.

 “This is a $400,000 investment with an expected 20 year lifespan on the panels and scope to increase the system size in future years if needed,” North East Water’s managing director, Craig Heiner, said.

 “One of the great things about this project is we’re getting free energy from the sun, but also incorporating shade protection for the carpark as a bonus.”

 Carpark solar is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, especially amid dwindling ideally-situated rooftops. A number of shopping centres across the country have begun to install PV modules on their carparks, capitalising on the twofold return of reducing energy costs and providing shade for shoppers.

The Wodonga construction was completed by QA Electrical, who have a local office near the New South Wales and Victoria border city. Battery storage was considered for integration in the system but was deemed unnecessary since the headquarter’s building was already fitted with a back-up generator.

Heiner called the carpark project “another step” in the corporation’s path to being carbon neutral by 2050. It joins the utility company’s 3 MWp hybrid solar power project planned for their Wodonga Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project, which is still in the design phase with construction due to start early next year, will see approximately 10,000 panels installed and will use a single axis tracking system to increase solar generation capacity.

The PV project will generate enough electricity to power the nearby sewage treatment plant during daylight hours, which consumes 25% of the corporation’s total energy.

“When the solar farm comes online, 50% of the corporation’s total daytime power consumption will come from green energy. This is all part of our commitment to cutting carbon emissions by 42% within six years and our pledge to achieve net-zero emissions before 2050,” Heiner said.

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