Aussie-made panels power remote national parks

Tindo Solar panels in Qld's remote national parks
Australian-made Tindo Solar panels, installed by Solar Hybrids, in a Queensland National Park (Image courtesy of Solar Hybrids)

The Queensland government is using Australian-made solar panels as it replaces the power systems at its remote National Parks facilities.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services’ ‘Turning the Parks Green’ program replaced Remote Area Power Systems (RAPS) at five National Park Ranger Bases during 2020-21, using high-performance solar modules made by Adelaide’s Tindo Solar—Australia’s only manufacturer of solar panels.

The state-of-the-art remote renewables systems—designed and installed by Brisbane energy company Solar Hybrids—were installed on QPWS Ranger Bases at K’Gari (Fraser Island), Diamantina, Welford, Lakefield and New Laura. The systems provide autonomous renewable power to QPWS Rangers and their families, enabling critical services such as water purification, irrigation, plumbing and fire-fighting.

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Tindo Solar CEO Shayne Jaenisch said the decision of the Queensland Government to choose Australia-made solar panels for its national parks—as well as Australia-made Selectronic and SunLock hardware—was a shot in the arm for Australian manufacturing, and an indication that Australian governments were ready to prioritise quality, reliability and safety in their energy transition rather than primarily focusing on cost.

“We congratulate the Queensland government for taking the lead on this issue,” Jaenisch said.

“They have installed world’s-best power systems for their remote bases and specified durability, safety and reliable power output under harsh conditions, rather than demanding the cheapest.”

Mr Jaenisch said Tindo Solar panels were not as cheap as Chinese imports but came with a 25-year warranty (imports offer 10), used superior materials, and produced performance that consistently topped the independent solar panel rankings by Choice and Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre.

“The new Queensland Ranger base systems have online performance monitoring and control portals, as well as sophisticated monitoring of fault redundancy, system reliability and longevity. They have a mix of AC and DC coupled solar, and fault alarms for the systems’ air conditioners and backup diesel generators,” he said.

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“They’re globally best-of-breed and they’re powered by solar panels made here, in Australia.”

Mr Jaenisch said Australia had been early into solar energy, and had focused on lowering costs through higher installation volumes, which made it hard for Australian panels to compete against imports. However, cost-benefit analyses showed that Tindo’s panels had better longevity, greater safety and were more likely to produce power at the claimed rating over a long period.

“The Queensland Government needed a very tough solar panel that produces reliable power in a harsh climate, allowing remote systems to be weaned off diesel,” Jaenisch said.

“They selected Tindo Solar panels and we are very proud of that vote of confidence.”