RAAF Darwin solar generator online after lengthy delay

Aerial photo of a large solar farm with an access road through the middle (darwin)
Image: iStock

Northern Territory utility Power and Water is celebrating the first large-scale solar generator on the Darwin-Katherine electricity network to achieve commercial dispatch of energy at 100% of the plant’s capacity.

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The 9,000 panel, 3.2MW solar farm at the RAAF Base Darwin was expected to be completed in 2020, and precedes the 9.2MW facility at Robertson Barracks and 1.4MW Hart’s Range which are anticipated to open later this year.

“This important milestone for the Northern Territory electricity market and the Territory’s progress towards a 50% renewable energy future follows effective collaboration between Defence and Power and Water to bring the RAAF Darwin solar generator online safely,” Power and Water said in a statement.

“As the network owner and system operator, Power and Water has a responsibility to ensure that new connections to the electricity network meet the standards and guidelines that maintain a reliable electricity supply to customers.”

“Safety is a core value for Power and Water. For us, that’s the safety of our people and our customers—and it’s also the safety and reliability of the services that we deliver to Territorians,” Power and Water CEO Djuna Pollard said.

In addition to the RAAF Darwin solar system, there are five large-scale solar generators connected to the Darwin-Katherine electricity network. The proponents are at varying stages of testing and commissioning before they can reach full commercial dispatch.

“Power and Water continues to support proponents to progress their projects towards commercial operation, including negotiating conditions for partial dispatch—where network conditions for stability and security can be managed—prior to achieving full commercial dispatch.”

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“We are pleased to be working closely with Defence on other renewables projects, as well as a number of other large scale solar generator projects in the Northern Territory, and look forward to continuing this collaborative relationship,” Pollard said.

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