Water Corporation has begun a 12-month trial using hybrid solar-diesel power to deliver drinking water from the Broome borefield in Western Australia, which will reduce running costs.

The solar trial is part of a $6.1 million investment in Broome’s water supply scheme, which also included the expansion of the borefield to 20 production bores that was completed in 2015 and increased the town’s water supply from 5.2 billion litres to 6.1 billion litres per year.

Western Australian Government Minister for Water, Mia Davies, said the trial was a Western Australian-first and would make the most of Broome’s abundant sunshine.

“If the trial is a success, this innovative system could lead to more water around the state being delivered using clean solar power,” Ms Davies said.

A hybrid system has been installed to power the bore pump, using solar energy during the day and storing excess solar energy in batteries for use in the evening and in times of low light. The pump is also equipped with a diesel generator that can be used when needed.

Ms Davies said the hybrid-powered bore would use enough solar energy to pump 1.5 million litres of water per day through to Broome’s town water supply scheme, which provides drinking water to around 17,000 properties in the town.

“If the trial is successful this would result in opportunities to find significant energy savings in remote locations where mains power is not available, and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Ms Davies said.

“The State Government, through the Water Corporation, is continually looking at ways of increasing the use of renewable energy wherever it can to deliver services in a way that reduces the impact on the environment.” 

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