Tonsley to harness huge solar electricity potential


Premier Jay Weatherill announced a two-staged request for proposals to convert the iconic saw tooth roof of the former Mitsubishi plant at Tonsley into a major roof-top solar array.

Tonsley to harness huge solar electricity potential
Image credit: flickr user: Marcus Wong

According to the media release issued by Mr Weatherill, the project would allow up to 25,000 square meters of solar panels to be installed, generating a potential 3.6 megawatts of power.

“The rooftop of the Main Assembly Plant has the capacity to generate the equivalent of required to power up to 770 South Australian homes a year. The solar array has the potential to save 2430 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Tonsley is already a world leading example of sustainability and innovation in urban renewal,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Today’s announcement represents the next step forward in its commitment to design excellence and energy efficiency. The rooftop solar project at Tonsley also aligns with the Government’s recent announcement to increase South Australia’s renewable energy target to 50% of power generation by 2025.”

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Susan Close said the proposed rooftop photovoltaic installation will encompass the eight-hectare roof of the former Mitsubishi’s Main Assembly Building, a key feature of the Tonsley redevelopment.

“Securing a solar operator at Tonsley will seek to provide tenants and investors with direct access to solar-powered electricity at a cheaper rate than the grid,” Dr Close said.

“The solar array further adds to Tonsley’s environmental focus to reduce ongoing energy operating costs and demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon emissions.”

In stage 1 of the request for proposals, which will open this week, proponents are invited to submit a proposal demonstrating how they would deliver the requirements of the Tonsley solar project. In Stage 2, shortlisted proponents will be invited to work with Government to negotiate a delivery agreement for the solar system at Tonsley.

The request for proposals also includes an option to expand onto the adjoining TAFE SA Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC) roof space.

Tonsley is one of two pilot programs in South Australia pursuing sustainability ambitions for a five-star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

The proposed solar project will support Tonsley’s economic development objectives and will further stimulate local economic activity and community development by providing training and employment opportunities.

The 61-hectare Tonsley site is located 10km south of Adelaide’s central business district and is expected to create 6,300 jobs during the life of the project.