Two Aboriginal communities sign up to co-investment solar project

boab, kimberleys, derby
A boab tree in the Kimberleys

Two remote Aboriginal communities, Warmun, in the east Kimberley and Bidyadanga in the west Kimberley, have signed up to Horizon Power’s co-investment solar project to have 311 kilowatts in total of rooftop solar systems installed in October.

The communities are partnering with Horizon Power under its Solar Incentives Scheme, which provides funds up to 30 per cent of the capital costs of the rooftop solar, capped at $100,000 to enable eligible Corporations to install solar.

The scheme both reduces the upfront capital cost of rooftop solar installations as well as provides a long-term reduction in energy and supply costs for the community.

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Horizon Power’s CEO Stephanie Unwin said the business was committed to delivering cleaner energy across its footprint and the project had the added benefit of supporting Aboriginal communities to reduce their electricity costs.

“Horizon Power has taken the lead to identify, develop and deliver cleaner energy solutions co-created with our communities,” Ms Unwin said.

In Bidyadanga, 161 kilowatts of solar PV will be installed on four buildings, including the administration building, the community store, the service centre and the workshop. With the ability to produce approximately 295 megawatt hours of power each year the solar PV will help reduce the Corporation’s power bill by an estimated $78,000 annually.

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In Warmun, 150 kilowatts of solar PV will be installed on six buildings. This will include the Corporation’s administration building, early learning centre, community hall, the Wungkul store, the playgroup’s yellow house and the overflow shed.  The Community expects to save more than $72,000 a year off their annual power costs as a result of the 270 megawatt hours the solar PV will produce annually. 

The project has recently received national recognition when it was shortlisted for the Energy Consumers Australia Consumer Engagement Award in September, along with the Clean Energy Council’s Community Engagement Award in July.

The scheme is open until June 2020 to the Aboriginal Corporations, which are Horizon Power customers, of Bidyadanga, Beagle Bay, Ardyaloon, Warmun, Kalumburu and Looma.​