Aboriginal community looks to the sun

The remote community of Yungngora in the West Kimberley is now partly powered by solar energy.

Solar panels delivering 200kW of power and a short-term energy storage system have been installed by Horizon Power at the community, formerly known as Noonkanbah station. The diesel power station at Yungngora was built by Horizon Power in 2013 as part of the Aboriginal and Remote Communities Power Supply Project, at the same time the community network was upgraded and pre-payment meters installed.

Horizon Power’s power system services project director Brett Whisson said the solar farm had been welcomed by the community because using energy from the sun meant less diesel fuel would need to be burned to power the community’s electricity needs.

The solar farm comprises 200kW of PV panels and includes a solar smoothing energy storage (SSES) system, which is equipped with battery energy storage to allow the system to ride through cloud events while another diesel generator is started to respond to the loss of solar power. Collectively the PV, plus the SSES will reduce the amount of fuel needed to power the community.

“The system has been designed to maximise the use of all of the available solar energy in order to reduce the amount of diesel being burned which will also result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Whisson said.

MPower said Yungngora was another milestone in the company’s focus on renewable energy for off-grid applications.

“Completing the Yungngora project leave us with a sense of satisfaction, not only for helping remote communities become less reliant on fossil fuels, but also for having an Australian-based MPower engineering team continue to progress this important technology,” MPower projects managing director Anthony Csillag said.

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