The South Australian water utility has opened up an initial expression of interest for prospective vendors to take up the projects. It said that the new solar power and energy storage capacities will help it achieve its objective of zero net electricity costs by 2020.

The feasibility of the company’s plans has been confirmed through an independent study of the deployment plan and economic assumptions, said SA Water.

The review also estimates that the water utility will realize benefits incrementally upon commencing the installation.

SA Water said that its first focus on energizing the solar arrays.

The company is seeking solar arrays from 100KW to 13MW from experienced and capable suppliers, which will be installed at metropolitan and regional sites.

The company believes that the new energy capabilities will cut down its electricity operating costs, while generating new revenue, to meet the zero net outcome.

In 2016-17, the water utility’s electricity costs had hit $55m for 220GWh of consumption.

SA Water CEO Roch Cheroux said that offsetting the power costs will result in an operational saving, which will be passed on to customers.

Roch said: “Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, significantly reduce our network charges and isolate our business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term.”

“The maturity of solar technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive water treatment and pumping operations, and export to the market to return revenue.”

SA Water had embarked on creating a solar portfolio by installing a pilot 100KW solar and 50KWh battery storage system at its depot in Crystal Brook.