Back to all news


South Australian Produce Market install a ‘Big Battery’ and Microgrid as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective energy solution

The South Australian Produce Markets Limited (SAPML), South Australia’s only wholesale market, has appointed Autonomous Energy to build an energy microgrid that can supply the site’s entire energy demand as well as exporting power to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Technical and economic feasibility studies were conducted by GHD and CQ Partners in 2016 and 2017, to assess the viability of establishing a microgrid battery and solar solution for the Wholesale Market site with Autonomous Energy awarded $10.5M to build the micro grid at our Pooraka site.

The microgrid comprises a 4.2MWh lithium-ion battery, 2.5MW solar PV system (6500 solar panels) and a 2.5MW onsite generator, all connected electrically, with fibre optic cable and controlled by a custom designed smart control and switching system.

The project will have significant community and environmental benefit by cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2,637 tonnes and reducing the maximum demand on the South Australian electricity grid by using the latest smart-grid technology. At full capacity, the system is capable of powering approximately 4,500 homes.

The operational strategy and controls are being developed by local South Australian company AZZO, who are located at the Tonsley innovation district in Adelaide, specialising in Power Monitoring & Control (PMCS).

This project will hedge against future electricity price increases and enable SAPML to avoid periods of high spot market pricing from the South Australian electricity market. It is anticipated market users may save up to $5.5M over the next 10 years compared to the current Retail offers available in SA.

Chief Executive Officer of SAPML, Mr. Angelo Demasi, said the project would not have been possible without the $2.5M Energy Productivity Implementation Grant and support of the South Australian Government.

“We thank the South Australian Government for the funding and support to ensure we can provide environmentally sustainable energy to our Market users.

“We want to ensure we can continue to provide affordable fresh produce on a local and global platform and this initiative means we can do it with an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner using an innovative solution,” Mr Demasi said.

Energy Minister, Mr Tom Koutsantonis, said pairing solar panels with batteries not only reduces power costs for businesses, it also reduces demand on the grid, putting downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians.

“South Australia is at the forefront of advances in the deployment of this technology and projects like this one at the SA Produce Markets demonstrate how much can be saved by investing in solar and batteries.

“Jobs are Labor’s number one priority and this microgrid will support jobs in our food industry by lowering the bills of market users at the market,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

Mr Mark Gadd, Managing Director of Autonomous Energy, said the microgrid works in both on-grid and off grid modes, able to intelligently and instantaneously respond to various scenarios in the NEM, ensuring reliability at the same time as reducing costs.

“From an energy security perspective, the entire site can be automatically isolated from the grid and the system will supply the site’s entire electrical load with no interruptions, ” Mr Gadd said.
The project commenced in December 2017 and will be fully operational by Mid November 2018

Angelo Demasi – CEO, South Australian Produce Market: 0417 835 340 or
Nadia Boscaini – Marketing Coordinator: 0408 877 797
Mark Gadd – Managing Director, Autonomous Energy: 0405 368 759 or

About the South Australian Produce Market:
The South Australian Produce Market is South Australia’s primary fresh produce wholesale market. Over 250,000 tonnes of fresh produce is traded between our 45 wholesalers, 60 growers and hundreds of retail operators each year, worth an estimated wholesale value of $550 million.