Aussie uni switches on PV-powered water storage tank to use for AC
Solar panels. Author: Chris Baird. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic.
The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia, has put into operation a thermal energy storage tank powered by 2.1 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to serve as an air-conditioning (AC) system for its largest campus.
The system is a three-storey tank of water kept cool by a thermal process enabled by more than 6,000 PV panels installed across the campus at Sippy Downs, Queensland, USC said last Thursday. The solar arrays can generate enough power to cool 4.5 megalitres of water turning the tank into a 7-MW battery.
The stored cold water is then used for AC, which currently accounts for 40% of all energy consumed by the campus.
The university staff has called the storage tank a “water battery”, except, unlike traditional batteries, the USC one comes with less environmental concerns at the time of its replacement.
Environmental services company Veolia Australia and New Zealand, of France’s Veolia Environnement SA (EPA:VIE), designed and built the storage tank as part of a broader agreement with USC resulting it the university having no capital expenditures.
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