In March 2016, a 1.8 MW solar system was commissioned at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Jinko Solar supplied 1.6MW EAGLE PID free modules to this project with the balance of the project supplied by another module provider. The project includes both roof and a ground mount systems, which ensures that energy is produced close to where it is needed.
Jinko Solar Eagle series PID free modules were attractive to Voyages due to their quality, the strong track record of Jinko Solar delivering globally on large scale solar projects, and Jinko’scompetitive price points.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia (“Voyages”) selected Epuron to design, build and own the project through Yulara Solar. Energy is supplied to Voyages under an operational lease model, which more effectively shares the long-term risks and opportunities of running solar PV systems in remote areas. This project is the first utility scale plant to be proposed and completed by an Indigenous Land Council.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) provided a $4.7 million loan to Epuron to construct, own and maintain the $7 million solar array. Separately, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $450,000 funding to Voyages for monitoring and analysis purposes.
The main motivation for Voyages to have the solar system installed was to reduce operating costs for both the resort and its existing electricity supplier (Power and Water Corporation). Prior to the installation of the solar system, Yulara relied entirely on a diesel mini grid managed by the Power and Water Corporation. The cost of running a 100% diesel system is exorbitant, which made installing the solar system not only good for the environment, but also one of the best financial investments the community could ever make.
Voyages conducted extensive feasibility analysis in conjunction with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), and it isanticipated that the combined system will provide approximately 15 per cent of the resort’s average electricity demand and 30 per cent during peak times.
One of the challenges of any large scale solar project is gaining agreement from the multiple stakeholders around project objectives and solar system location. This was particularly the case with the incumbent generators, multiple financiers, and existing land use patterns in such a pristine natural environment. Epuron worked with Voyages and CAT to create a design that was sensitive to the requirements of the resort whilst delivering an efficient design.