Off-grid, distributed generation, renewable –

Northern Territory, Australia


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The site
The power station services two indigenous communities – Bulman and Weemol.
The Bulman community is frequently isolated by heavy monsoonal wet season rains. The system will reduce existing diesel fuel usage,reduce operation and maintenance costs and provide benefi ts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Installations by Power and Water Corporation at other sites have con fi rmed that by adding around 30 per cent of photovoltaic (PV)generation capacity to a standard diesel power station,peak demand on the diesel system is reduced.Peak power demand in the Northern Territory closely matches solar availability,with the peak occurring early afternoon. In
many instances a smaller diesel engine can be running as the solar provides peak load.
Battery storage is not required,since the diesel engines provide all electricity not able to be met by the solar system,including night-time operation. The economic and environmental savings from this arrangement – believed to be a world first – are significant.
The NT solar PV commercialisation project aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of peak lopping using an optimal mix of solar and diesel technology,a simple yet robust design suitable for operation in remote communities.The life of the solar equipment is in excess of
20 years.

Energy purchase and supply
The plant is expected to produce 82,000 kWh of electricity per annum. Power generated from the project is fed into the local community grid.The generator is an accredited generator under the Mandated Renewable Energy Target (MRET). The Bulman Solar Power Station is expected to save 70 tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas emissions and
save as much as 25,000 litres of diesel fuel.

Future outlook
The Bulman Solar Power Station is the fi rst of two such facilities to be built as part of Power and Water Corporation ‘s “NT Solar PV Commercialisation Pilot Project “. A further
225 kWp is to be installed at Kings Canyon,making this Australia ‘s biggest fl at plate solar photovoltaic (PV) project.

Funding arrangements and acknowledgments
The project received funding through the Australian Greenhouse Offi ce ‘s Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program (RECP)and Renewable Remote Power Generation Programs (RRPGP) through the NT Department of Business,Industry and Resource Development

Owner: Power and Water Corporation
Capacity: 56 kW
Location: Bulman, 250 km east of Katherine on the Nhulunbuy road
Commissioned: November 2002
Capital Cost: $900,000
Construction Contractor: Ecoenergy, Alice Springs
Operator: Power and Water Remote Operations

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