By Sam Watson

SOUTH Gippsland Water has invested $2.54 million into solar panels at four water treatment facilities in the region.

As part of the corporation’s ongoing pledge to reduce its carbon footprint, solar panels are being installed at Inverloch, Korumburra, Lance Creek and Leongatha to produce a more energy-efficient system.

The panels in Inverloch and Korumburra are up and running, while Lance Creek is in the testing stages and is expected to be finished within the next month.

The Leongatha panels have experienced a slight manufacturing delay but they are likely to be completed within the next few months.

Senior project engineer, Graeme Watkins chose the sites because of their high energy use. He said they would also garner the best return on investment.

The panels have a combined generation power of just over one gigawatt, meaning the return is astronomical.

It will provide electricity to the pumps, aerators, sewerage screens, blowers, batching plants, control valves and instrument and control equipment within the plants, as well as providing excess energy to the power grid.

“As an organisation, we strive to continuously make our operations eco-friendlier,” Graeme said.

“Solar panels are just one of many steps in reducing our carbon footprint.”

South Gippsland Water managing director Phillippe du Plessis said: “On World Environment Day, we holistically looked at how we can be allies in restoring our planet. Our Behind the Meter solar project is an excellent example of how we can continue to provide reliable services in a more sustainable way.”