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SA Water has installed more than 7,300 solar panels at one of the utility’s major drinking water pipelines between the River Murray and Barossa Valley, helping to reduce operating costs and take action against climate change.

Installed at the second pump station on the Swan Reach to Stockwell Pipeline, the large solar array will reduce the operating costs required to deliver clean, safe drinking water from the Swan Reach Water Filtration Plant to thousands of customers in the Barossa region.

SA Water’s Senior Manager Zero Cost Energy Future, Nicola Murphy, said the solar array will generate around 5,224 megawatt hours of clean, green energy every year.

“The Swan Reach to Stockwell Pipeline spans across more than 50kms inland from the mighty Murray across to the northern Barossa area, and therefore requires significant energy to pump clean, safe drinking water across such large distances,” Ms Murphy said.

“With all the site’s panels connected and ready to capture the Swan Reach sunshine, we can help offset our energy needs using solar power, without altering the important operations of the water filtration plant.

“We want to set an example of proactive environmental leadership, focused on sustainability and action on climate change, and this solar array is a terrific example of how we can make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions to the tune of around 2,240 tonnes every year.

“This is one of two solar sites set to be up and running in the Swan Reach region, with a further 16,000 panels currently being connected and soon to be energised at the pipeline’s first pump station.

“Together with our other 30-plus solar sites strategically placed at our treatment plants, pump stations and depots across South Australia, we’re sustainably reducing our operating expenses and ensuring we keep prices low and stable for our customers.”

SA Water’s zero cost energy future initiative has seen more than 360,000 solar panels positioned at sites like the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, Adelaide Desalination Plant and major pump stations along the Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline, with all sites to be energised and connected to the national electricity grid over the coming months.

“This initiative was designed by our people, and shows South Australians leading the way with the smarts and skills to integrate renewable energy and storage across our existing plants, pump stations and other land holdings,” Ms Murphy said.

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