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Massive commercial PV install ‘practically’ completed at former car manufacturing plant in Adelaide

Massive commercial PV install ‘practically’ completed at former car manufacturing plant in Adelaide

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After the South Australian government bought Mitsubishi’s former manufacturing plant in Adelaide’s south over a decade ago, the vision of turning it into a climate smart precinct housing research and education institutions, industry, manufacturing and residents under the banner of the Tonsley Innovation District is well underway.

Phillip Graham, founder and CEO of GreenPeak Energy, the company responsible for the precinct’s energy scheme, on Monday announced the “practical completion” of the precinct’s stage two solar expansion.

The 4.83 MW rooftop solar system is spread across the roof of Renewal SA, which manages the precinct on behalf of the state government, as well as the TAFE. 

Eighty pallets of solar panels were airlifted onto the roofline of Renewal SA’s Line Zero building and TAFA SA’s campus.

Image: CleanPeak Energy

The install doubles the capacity of the 2.34 MW solar system already installed in Tonsley, specifically on the former car manufacturing plant and some of the TAFE’s rooftop, in 2019 to 2020.

GreenPeak Energy’s founder said the expanded system will now generate over 7,000 MWh of energy each year.

“Our next project at Tonsley is delivery of our 3.3 MWh battery which we expect will be online for summer,” Graham said on LinkedIn. 

The solar system expansion saw 80 pallets of solar panels, weighing up to 800kg each, airlifted onto the site’s roofline back in May. The 2,000 panels were then fitted to cover an area the size of 2.5 football fields.

Todd Perry, General Manager of Project Delivery and Property at Renewal SA, said the now completed system should see Tonsely fitted with 13,000 panels, 34 inverters and over 15,000 metres of electrical cables.

GreenPeak’s Graham has previously said the soon to be battery coupled system will allow the district to be supplied by 100% renewable energy.

Tonsley Innovation District today is home to the likes of Tesla, Siemens and has attracted project’s like the $14.5 million Hydrogen Park SA from Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, which is looking to blend hydrogen into its natural gas network. Flinders University has also set up a campus in the sprawling site.

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