University of Adelaide breaks ground on ‘living lab’ solar farm
The University of Adelaide has begun construction on its new solar farm which will be used to supply the Roseworthy Campus with clean energy and provide a practical source of study in the fields of solar photovoltaics, energy storage, and solar site management.
The 1.2MW solar energy facility will incorporate a 420kw/1200kWh hybrid energy storage element with a combination of lithium-ion and vanadium flow batteries. This will be the university’s first embedded microgrid and improve emergency back-up facilities for the campus.
The project is part of the State Government’s Renewable Technology Fund and was one of 20 such initiatives to receive funding. The fund works to fast track the development of next generation renewable energy technology across South Australia.
The university received a total of AU$7 million for the project, including a AU$778,500 grant for the state of the art hybrid battery storage solution.
This is just one more initiative in the university’s extensive sustainability policy, an ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions and decrease the campuses’ environmental impact.
“Under our new strategic plan the university is tackling sustainable energy and environmental sustainability as a priority,” University of Adelaide Chief Operating Officer, Bruce Lines, said in a statement.
“The solar farm will be a ‘living laboratory’ for students and researchers, with access to time-lapse recording of the construction, building plans and data systems for remote-energy management, energy storage and load flex.
“Our researchers will utilise the solar farm and battery storage systems for projects including energy management strategies, grid segregation, low-cost fault detection systems, system resilience, and cybersecurity.”
As Australia transitions its energy dependence to renewables the necessity for research into photovoltaic sources and the practical concerns with the transition are needed now more than ever.
Higher education is playing a major role in providing this insight and training the next generation of solar experts. In addition to the University of Adelaide last week, Victoria’s La Trobe University also announced its intention to utilise on-campus solar installations for solar PV research.
“The Marshall Liberal Government congratulates University of Adelaide on reaching this milestone and its commitment to improving renewable energy technology,” said Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“Put simply, this project will reduce the University’s peak electricity demand, reduce energy costs and increase the resilience of supply to the campus.”
The AU$1.5 million hybrid battery storage system will demonstrate the hybrid battery’s support to the South Australian electricity grid and assist the university to incorporate topics such as remote-energy management, energy storage and demand management into its teaching.