Westernport Water, a ground mount case study

Monday, August 16, 2021
Training
by
Veli Markovic

Case Study - Westernport Water

In this article we look at a solar PV ground mount commercial renewable energy system we designed and installed down near Cowes, on Phillip Island.

The full customer story can be found here:

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/commercial/customer-stories

The Westernport wastewater treatment plant in Cowes services over 19,000 customers with the sewage inflow captured from San Remo and Phillip Island.

Westernport water has a pledge to create a more sustainable future for the island, and for the people that live there as well as the 3.5 million people annually that go there to visit and with this in mind they embarked upon an investigation into the viability of a commercial solar system.

Where will the panels go?

There was a lack of “roof real estate” for the site to integrate the 100kW system finally decided upon and certain stipulations had to be adhered to for the ground mount site.


The Process

Firstly, the site had to be leveled as it is in a waterlogged paddock. Greenwood engaged with local civil workers to lift the area for drainage, and compact the ground with crushed rock with suitable drainage run off. 

The 1350m2 project area used a class 2 crushed rock base compacted to 150mm and 470 tonnes of crushed rock was brought in and compressed. In addition the underground services provided a real challenge in positioning our inverter station and array location.

Lightning Protection

Part of the specification was for AS1768 lightning protection level 2 which required the installation of  surge protection devices both on the DC and AC side in addition to purpose designed sacrificial antennas/conductors attached to the array which connect to underground earth electrodes.

For information see our blog presentation: https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/news-posts/surge-protection-devices-for-solar-systems

Racking, panels and inverters

Greenwood specified: 

  • Tier 1 445W Canadian Panels 
  • Clenergy Solar Terrace II racking system
  • 3 x Fronius Eco 27 three phase inverters

Fencing and pole positions

As the site is over 600V DC, Australian standards state that you must have a fence around the array. This keeps it safe, and also keeps wildlife out which is quite prevalent on the Island and we worked with a local contractor to achieve this.


Documentation

With all solar systems documentation is required but when dealing with ground mount systems there is a fairly comprehensive list which includes:

  • Request for planning information
  • Flora and Fauna studies overlays
  • Traffic management
  • Fatigue management policy

It is really important to factor in the time and cost to carry out what is required and to collate all this documentation.

Conclusion 

This was a great project but compared to standard roof mount solar systems it presented its own set of difficulties and issues which must be accounted for when costing these projects.

If you’d like to see more of what Greenwood Solutions get up to in the real world of renewable energy, solar, battery storage and grid protection check out the following pages:

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/industry 

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/commercial

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/commercial/customer-stories

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/news


About the author

Veli Markovic

CEC Designer
Veli has nearly two decades of experience in the renewable industry. He is passionate about providing people with valuable education and is highly regarded throughout the industry as an educator and operator.
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