A 12-month trial is underway using hybrid solar-diesel power to deliver drinking water from a borefield to Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

WA State Water Minister, Mia Davies, said the trial was a Western Australian-first and, if successful, the innovative system could lead to more water around the state being delivered using clean solar power.

A hybrid system has been installed to power the bore pump, using solar energy during the day and storing excess solar energy in batteries for use in the evening and in times of low light.

The pump is also equipped with a diesel generator that can be used when needed.

Minister Davies said the hybrid-powered bore would use enough solar energy to pump 1.5 million litres of water per day to Broome’s town water supply scheme.

“If the trial is successful it would result in opportunities to find significant energy savings in remote locations where mains power is not available, and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“The government, through the Water Corporation, is continually looking at ways of increasing the use of renewable energy wherever it can to deliver services in a way that reduces the impact on the environment.”

The Broome borefield was expanded last year with three new production bores to increase the town’s water supply from 5.2 billion litres to 6.1 billion litres per year.

The solar trial and borefield expansion represents a $6.1 million investment in Broome’s water supply scheme. The solar trial component of this investment is $1 million.

The Broome water supply scheme provides drinking water to about 17,000 properties in the town.