Solar & VEN Feasibility – Greater Western Water

Bridgeford Group successfully completed the exploration of cost and high-level feasibility studies for achieving Net Zero by Greater Western Water (GWW). GWW, an amalgamation of City West Water and Western Water. Ambitious goals were set to become Net Zero by 2030, surpassing the Victorian State Government requirement by 20 years. Bridgeford Group conducted a preliminary assessment of solar potential within GWW’s portfolio and advanced several sites to the solar concept design stage.

Bridgeford Group commenced with a concept report that outlined the available options for solar PV arrays at several sites. The findings from the assessment were as follows:

  • A Virtual Energy Network (VEN) agreement allowed offsetting of electricity generation/export against consumption, maximizing PV capacity at cost-effective sites and improving financial return and emissions reductions.
  • The implementation of minimum export capacity arrays at suitable sites resulted in 19.4% Renewable Energy with a payback period (SPB) of 12 years.
  • Under a VEN agreement, the same arrays yielded 23% Renewable Energy with an SPB of 11 years. Prioritizing sites based on $/kW further improved financial return.
  • Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs) offered better financial return than Large Generation Certificates (LGCs) for arrays of 100kW and greater.


  • The recommendation was to pursue a VEN arrangement for offsetting electricity generation and consumption.
  • 3223kW of total PV were recommended to be advanced to detailed design/tender at preferred sites, prioritizing based on $/kW and maximizing infrastructure to improve NPV.
  • The suggestion was to seek Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) rebates for arrays under 100kW.
  • For arrays over Bridgeford 100kW, the recommendation was to pursue VEECs (FC) with the option of VEECs (FC&AC) if operational requirements (M&V) were deemed acceptable by GWW.

Key Outcomes:

The virtual energy network Solar and Ven project enables GWW water to:

  1. Generate their own renewable energy.
  2. Share renewable energy between sites.
  3. Decouple available space for generation from load (ie: ability to offset loads for high use pump stations)
  4. Share energy beyond the boundary of GWW, with partners, staff within their local area.