This report presents an analysis of the operational performance of the 10 megawatts of utility-scale solar arrays installed across 25 remote Northern Territory communities under the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP). The report covers performance for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
As the largest isolated off-grid solar program in Aboriginal communities, the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) is a world-first.
Power and Water Corporation has been incorporating solar energy technology into our business for the past twenty years. Through the successful delivery of SETuP we have built on that experience and transformed the way we supply energy to remote communities with hybrid solar/diesel power generation becoming an integral focus.
SETuP has seen the rollout of 10 megawatts (MW) of solar to benefit 25 communities serviced by our subsidiary, Indigenous Essential Services. The $59 million program was co-funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. It includes $27.5 million financed through the Northern Territory Government.
The arrays were completed over two years, with the first array commissioned in February 2017 and the final site completed in March 2019. This report analyses the performance of the SETuP assets for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 with a primary focus on the medium contribution sites. The performance outcomes include achieving 14.6% renewable contribution in the first 10 completed communities, where the arrays operate alongside the existing diesel power stations with no additional supporting technologies required. This was just under the design target of 15%.
At the Daly River a 1 MW array was integrated with an 800 kW/2 MWh Battery Energy Storage System alongside the existing diesel power station, and exceeded its target with a 50.7% renewable contribution for the reporting period.
A number of influences on performance and opportunities for further improvement are described.