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Design to help SA Water achieve $0 net electricity costs

SA Water Project Zero design


John Holland Group


South Australia

About The Project

SA Water set out to achieve a net zero energy cost across all assets by 2020. As South Australia’s largest provider of water and sewerage services, SA Water serves 1.6 million people across the state. Its energy intensive operations previously consumed 220 GWh. To reach its ambitious goal, SA Water nominated 93 assets to install Solar PV, with 71 of those to also get a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). The required solar power and BESS capacity were 200MW and 39MWh to yield sufficient electricity to meet its goal.

All sites were to be monitored and controlled from a central location, to make use of energy market spot price fluctuation and to be able to align the individual site operations to energy cost and availability.

John Holland Group engaged CNF to prepare the tender design for their submission.

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Major Achievements

Five sites were selected for the detailed tender design ranging from 23MW solar with a 10MWh BESS to a simple 200kW plant. The concept design included fixed tilt, single axis tracking and rooftop installations, with connection voltages of 400V, 3.3kV and 11kV. The intent was to provide a range of different sites to assess how the various unique design challenges would be solved.


CNF designed all aspects of the general layout and electrical installation, including:

  • General site layout, positioning inverter and BESS locations;
  • DC and HVAC reticulation and trenching;
  • Integration into existing HV switch rooms;
  • Monitoring and control of PV and BESS plants;
  • Detailed material take-off (MTO) and component list for pricing;
  • Scopes of work for individual packages.

All other 88 sites were designed to a degree that would provide sufficiently accurate:

  • Connection design and integration requirements, to determine required transformers and switchgear;
  • All solar and BESS related component lists;
  • MTOs for pricing.

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