Three local communities to be powered by sun

Seventeen off-grid remote Indigenous communities are set to benefit from solar energy and reduce their reliance on diesel fuel.

They include Bulman, Minyerri (Hodgson Downs) and Ngukurr.

The communities, located in Central Australia, Katherine, Top End and Tiwi Islands regions of the NT , will be provided with a total 5.6 MW of solar energy.

The Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has provided $31.5 million in funding towards the $59 million project known as the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP).

Eleven other off-grid remote Indigenous communities have already benefitted from 4.325 MW of solar energy under the program, including Daly River where the 1 MW solar energy site is also equipped with a battery.

"This project provides opportunities for off-grid remote Indigenous communities to decrease their reliance on diesel fuel which is subject to price fluctuations and seasonal transport issues," Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

Senator Nigel Scullion said the project was an important step towards transforming the way energy is supplied to remote communities in Australia.

The project is jointly funded by ARENA and the Northern Territory Government and managed by the Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation.

Last year, Territoria Civil built and integrated 3.325 MW of solar PV into diesel power systems in the first 10 remote Aboriginal communities. They will now begin construction to integrate a further 5.6 MW of solar PV into diesel power systems in another 17 communities. 

Power and Water chief executive Michael Thomson says the corporation is pleased to continue to partner with ARENA and the NT Government on this important project and building on the success achieved in the past twelve months.