Warrnambool's Brierly Basin will soon host Australia’s largest floating solar array as part of our plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

The $1.4 million project is expected to have a net-positive value of more than $500,000 by significantly reducing power costs and saving more than 600 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

More than 400 floating solar PV systems have been installed across the globe, but this will be the first of its type for the Australian water sector

Brierly Basin is a raw water storage that holds water sourced from the Otways and from our roof water harvesting scheme.

We use a large amount of electricity as water is pumped to the Warrnambool Water Treatment Plant where it is disinfected and then supplied to customers, so on-site solar energy is a very attractive alternative.

Floating solar at the basin is an efficient option because of the large area of open water available.

More than 1,200 of the latest bi-facial solar panels will be mounted on top of pontoons and floated on the surface of the water. The pontoons will be fixed to the base using special cables and submerged concrete anchors.

The panels are designed to harvest light from both sides, increasing the system’s efficiency and making them easier to maintain.

Design work for the project is complete and much of the electrical work is in place onsite, ready for connection once the pontoons and solar panels are installed. This next installation phase is about to begin, with the system expected to be online by mid-2023.

We are the state’s second largest water corporation by area so the costs of pumping and treating water is significant.

Energy is a significant operational cost for our business so the project will not only help the environment but keep water bills low for customers.

The 500-kilowatt floating array will be Wannon Water’s largest system to date. They already have a 250-kilowatt system at the Warrnambool Water Treatment Plant and two 100-kilowatt systems at the Hamilton Water Treatment Plant and at the Gateway Road corporate office.

They also generate renewable energy from a wind turbine at Portland, sequester carbon in trees and procure renewable energy from solar farms.

We recognise that protecting our environment is an important part of our Zero Harm mindset and that our commitment to go 'beyond water for strong communities’ requires us to be a leader in the transition to a greener future.

After: Birds eye view of Brierly Basin water storage dam full of water, overlaid with 4 grids of floating solar panels. Residential housing appears in the background. Before: Birds eye view of Brierly Basin water storage dam full of water, with residential housing in the background.

Move the slider to view a representation of the proposed Brierly Basin solar panel array.