Aboriginal communities in Northern Territory go solar

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Solar power and battery storage is being taken to Aboriginal communities in remote parts of the Northern Territory in the first phase of a $55 million project.

As things stand, these communities rely heavily on diesel power generators but the project funded by The Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP), the NT Government, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will soon change all that.

Nauiyu Aboriginal community gets solar array and battery storage

Fuel arriving the hard way for diesel generators

The first project is a 1 Megawatt high penetration solar panel system for the Daly River Nauiyu community just south of Darwin, which will result in 50% savings on diesel. The solar array is coupled with a 2MWh lithium-ion battery system which will store energy in times of emergency, but can also be used to offset diesel supply when the sun shines at its brightest.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the Daly River trial is one of 28 projects to be implemented across the Northern Territory.

“The transition to renewables will provide affordable, reliable, alternative power to Aboriginal communities,” ARENA CEO, he said.

He also pointed out that the reduction in emissions would also be positive and would also cut down local air particle pollution. Above all, he said, the cost of energy would be reduced.

Aboriginal communities will pay less for energy with solar

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht

“As battery costs reduce over the next few years, solar and battery technology will become more and more economically compelling as an alternative to traditional ways of powering remote communities,” Frischknecht said.

The outcomes at Nauiyu will guide the deployment of enabling technologies in other remote Aboriginal communities as they become cost-effective and can deliver fuel and cost savings.

Interestingly, according to the latest figures, Darwin has the lowest percentage of dwellings in the whole of Australia that have rooftop solar at 10 per cent, compared to 30 per cent in Queensland.

You can find more information about the projects on the ARENA and SETuP websites.

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