Solar farms coming to Palmer, Rocky Gully as SA Water seeks cheaper power | MAP

A plan for SA Water's solar plant at Palmer. Image: SA Water/SA Planning Commission.

A plan for SA Water's solar plant at Palmer. Image: SA Water/SA Planning Commission.

The rapid expansion of the solar power industry in the Murraylands is about to continue, as SA Water plans to install tens of thousands of panels at its facilities around the region.

A solar farm on Randell Road at Palmer will be perhaps the most visible upgrade.

Between May and September, SA Water plans to install almost 35,000 panels on a 24-hectare property south of its existing pumping station and waste water treatment plant.

The site is presently used for agriculture and visible to motorists approaching the town from Mannum and Murray Bridge.

A battery would be installed and commissioned in December.

SA Water plans to install a similar array of solar panels at its pumping station on Monarto Road at Rocky Gully.

Plans for that project were only lodged with the SA Planning Commission on January 31.

Pumping stations at Sedan and Swan Reach are also in line for solar power.

SA water revealed last July that it would aim to reduce its spending on electricity to zero by 2020 in an effort to deliver lower water prices.

Across South Australia, the utility will install more than 500,000 solar panels capable of generating 159 megawatts of power, and add 34MW of battery storage.

SA Water spent $55 million on electricity in 2016-17.

Chief executive Roch Cheroux said it took a lot of energy to provide 1.7 million South Australians with safe, clean drinking water.

"We’ll always need to use electricity, but we can be smart in our approach to managing it," he said.

"We’ve set ourselves an unashamedly ambitious target, but this kind of innovative thinking can shake up traditional models and deliver sustainable savings.

"We’re backing ourselves to deliver it."

  • View the plans: Visit Mid Murray Council’s Mannum office or
  • Have your say: Write to the Secretary, State Commission Assessment Panel, GPO Box 1815, Adelaide SA 5001 or email by close of business on Thursday.