Harnessing the sun for energy independence in Northern Australia

Energy independence through solar energy is now a step closer for the people of Daly River in the Northern Territory, a region about 220 kilometres south-west of Darwin, Australia.

Conergy and BMD Constructions will soon commence construction on the Daly River project, a one megawatt solar facility situated near the remote indigenous community of Nauiyu.

Once completed, the plant will provide 100 per cent of the community’s energy needs during the day and diesel generators will only be in use at night.

Nauiyu is one of the first Northern Territory communities to be chosen for the Solar SETuP program, a four-year, $55 million investment by the Northern Territory Government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Power and Water Corporation, the local utility, will roll out this program which will incorporate solar power in the delivery of electricity to the local communities.

Solar SETuP aims to bolster the energy production needs of remote communities by integrating advanced solar and battery technologies into the local grid.

Apart from the local air quality benefits, the reduction in fuel use means the community is less susceptible to diesel fuel price rises and less reliant on fuel transportation.

Mr Graeme Marshall, Program Director with Power and Water said the Daly River Power Station was chosen because it had already been the focus of a feasibility study as part of the Daly River solar/diesel optimisation research project.

“The community is ideal in demonstrating how renewable energy design challenges can be overcome in a demanding remote environment,” Mr Marshall said.

“We are hoping to gain valuable insight into how the integration of a hybrid solar and diesel solution into the grid can deliver even greater fuel savings to Daly River in the future as well as other remote Indigenous communities.”

The project’s remote location carries a number of challenges: from rocky geotechnical conditions, extreme weather, periodic flooding and limited logistics and transport infrastructure.

As one of the region’s leading solar companies, Conergy has extensive experience in the delivery of highly complex large-scale solar systems in some of the most challenging environments, having closed over 460 MWp of EPC contracts and provided Operations & Maintenance services for over 400 MWp of solar projects within APAC.

“We are committed to helping the local communities meet their growing energy needs sustainably by delivering the latest developments in solar technology that will transform their power generation infrastructure, enabling them to prosper while making a positive contribution to the preservation of their environment,” said Alexander Lenz, President of Conergy APAC.

Hendrik Bohne, VP – EPC, APAC adds, “Both Conergy and BMD Constructions are very pleased and honored to be awarded the contract for this project. Together we will bring to the Daly River solar project our complete EPC services offering that draws upon the comprehensive experiences, collective resources and project management expertise of both our companies.”

In 2012 Conergy developed and delivered a 1 MW integrated hybrid solar system to remote communities in Australia’s Northern Territory. This project has been contributing emission-free power for the last five years and was designed to provide up to 30 percent of the average daily electricity demands for each community.

Conergy is also the owner and developer of the Lakeland Solar & Storage project which is one of the first utility-scale solar and storage facilities in Asia Pacific.

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