The massive solar array spanning the rooftops of the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide will soon double in capacity, after 80 pallets of PV modules – 2,000 of them, all up – were air-lifted into place for installation.
Helicopters last week made 160 separate pick-up and set-down runs to get the panels onto the roofs of Renewal SA’s Line Zero building – Renewal SA is the state government’s leading urban development agency – and of Tafe SA’s Tonsley campus.
The Tonsley Innovation District, located in the south of Adelaide, has been re-purposed from the former site of the Mitsubishi motor vehicle factory that closed in 2009.
It was originally supplied with solar power in a partnership between the innovation hub and Sanjeev Gupta’s Simec Energy.
A first installation of 7,400 panels was completed on the roof of Tonsley’s main assembly building (MAB) in 2020, with a combined generation capacity of 2.34MW. The stage two installation will take the total solar capacity at the District to 5MW.
CleanPeak Energy, which now owns and operates the Tonsley District Energy Scheme, says the massive helicopter operation was preceded last week with the laying out of panels on a large concrete apron to the south of the Tafe SA building.
At project completion, CleanPeak says the 13,000 PV panels, 34 inverters and more than 15,000 metres of electrical cables installed will supply up to 80% of Tonsley’s energy demand.
The next step in the project will be to install a 10MW battery that will capture excess solar energy and store it for use in precinct buildings outside the solar window.
“Once finished, the integrated solar and battery system will allow the world class Tonsley Innovation District to be supplied by 100% renewable energy,” said CleanPeak Energy CEO Phillip Graham.
“Tonsley has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable and innovative outcomes since its inception,” said Todd Perry, general manager of project delivery and property at Renewal SA.
“The District Energy Scheme is a great example of that commitment because it gives businesses within the district surety and access to reliable, renewable energy at a cheaper rate without having to rely on supply from the national electricity grid.”