SA Aquatic and Leisure Aquatics Centre - solar panels deliver big savings

The South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre has cut deep into its power bill – and its carbon emissions – thanks to the installation of a roof’s worth of solar panels.

Two years ago the Centre, at Marion in Adelaide’s south, installed 1,600 panels with a total generating capacity of 512 kilowatts of power.

The investment is paying off, big time.

As the Centre’s General Manager, Adam Luscombe, explains, “Electricity prices had risen by over 200 % in 6 years, and the SAALC faced another 148% increase based on market demands.

“Gas had seen a similar trending.

“Since the panels were installed, electricity consumption has dropped by 12%, and carbon emissions are down by 697.34 tonnes.

“This equates to 648,936km of car travel, or the planting of 17,881 trees.

“All by using the sun to power the aquatic centre!”

Mr Luscombe says a suite of other measures has also made a big impact:

  • Variable speed pumps have been installed, to reduce power consumption
  • Walls and other areas where heat was escaping from have been reclad with extra insulation
  • Air curtains and extra doors have been added to hold the heat in in key areas
  • Pool blankets are being used to retain pool heat
  • Water temperatures have been reduced in the hotter months.

Mr Luscombe says the initiatives are making a significant contribution to SA’s goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by the end of 2050.

But that’s not all: in an effort to further protect our environment,

  • 250,000-litre rainwater-harvesting storage tanks have been installed under the centre’s loading bay area, supplying recycled water to toilets and urinals
  • Showers now have 3-minute timers
  • Plastic bottles are being recycled (centre staff separate and collect refundable drink bottles – the income generated goes to supporting those less fortunate via the YMCA’s Open Doors program)
  • Paper and cardboard are recycled to make new boxes and mixed packaging
  • Waste from the centre’s grease traps is treated and recycled
  • Aaaaand…. Chlorine gas and soda ash are being used to help keep pools clean (this has reduced chemical inputs and saved the centre approximately $60,000).


Not surprisingly the Centre is well on track to meeting its target of having its solar panels pay for themselves by 2024.

More broadly, its aim of continual improvement in the environmentally friendly stakes is also looking very sound!

Like what the aquatic centre is doing? You can also ‘like’ it on Facebook - or just check out what’s going on – at https://www.facebook.com/SAaquatic