Power and Water has completed its first phase Tranche One solar installations across ten remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as part of the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) program.

The Solar SETuP’s Tranche One completion will generate 3.325MW of contributing power to ten remote Aboriginal communities through 10,601 solar panels to provide an average of 5,000 kWh/h per day to power over 570 households across the ten communities of Arlparra , Kintore, Nyirripi (Waite Creek), Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Mt Liebig, Areyonga, Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Maningrida and Ramingining.

The $55million Solar SETuP program is jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Northern Territory Government, reducing diesel reliance by 15 per cent while saving 94 million litres of diesel over the lifetime of the program. It will also save over one million litres of fuel per year.

Power and Water’s Chief Executive Michael Thomson is thrilled to have reached the program milestone.

“The completion of Solar SETuP Tranche One is on the trajectory to transform the way energy is supplied with hybrid solar/diesel power generation.

“The state of the art installation of integrated electricity supply will reduce emissions and local pollution with fewer fuel trucks and barges visiting the communities. Solar SETuP installations in unique and vast environments demonstrate how remote communities are paving the way to create a more reliable, cleaner, greener future for the Northern Territory.”

Power and Water’s project management involves a strong commitment to local community engagement throughout the pre and post construction process to increase local ownership.

Aboriginal locals were engaged in undertaking flora and fauna surveys, fencing installation and construction.

Local construction contractor for all of Tranche One, Territoria Civil John Holland, employed sixteen locals during the rollout of the solar installation and one Maningrida local continues employment with Territoria Civil.

Robert Wilson, General Manager of Territoria Civil was very pleased to be involved in such a large scale solar project.

“Throughout the project, we aimed to engage as many locals as possible.

“Over 12 months, we transported 10000 solar panels by road to the sites to install until fully commissioned. Power and Water’s Solar SETuP’s Tranche One completion significantly changes the delivery of essential services to remote communities,” said Mr Wilson.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner met the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) team at the Ramingining facility to see the completed project.

“Investing in renewables means we are protecting our economy, our lifestyle, our quality of life and our unique and spectacular natural environment,” Mr Gunner said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from over one million litres of diesel fuel will be saved each year following the integration of the SETuP into the power supply of each community.

Mr Gunner said the SETuP sites would contribute to the Territory Labor Government’s renewable target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, by reducing emissions and creating a platform for greater use of solar in the future.

Utility Journalist

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