The Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation, with the assistance of Solar Choice as tender manager, installed approximately 130kW of solar PV across its headquarters in June 2010. The aim of the installation was to reduce Corporation power bills, which can be especially high during the wet season, when temperatures can soar above 40 degrees and life without airconditioners can be extremely uncomfortable.
Mowanjum’s solar installation is spread across a number of the Corporation’s buildings, including worksh0ps, the administration building, the community store, an early learning centre, and the community resource and language centres. Systems use SMA inverters and 80W Solar Fronier CIS (Copper-Indium-Selenium) thin-film solar panels (1500 in total), which are better suited to hot conditions than their monocrystalline or polycrystalline counterparts.
Solar system performance has thus far met expectations of the community, which is accustomed to seeing power bill fluctuations of up to $10,000 between the wet and dry seasons. Electricity prices in NW Western Australia, like everywhere else in Australia, have been rising. According to Mowanjum Corporation CEO Steve Austin, the systems were able to almost halve electricity bills during the dry season, and are taking a sizeable chunk out of wet season bills.
About the Mowanjum Community
The Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation is situated 10km from Derby, WA, about 220km from Broome. The community is home to some 300 residents, with 7 outstations in the remote areas of the Buccaneer Archipelago and inland to the Kimberley Plateau, for which Mowanjum serves as the Resource Agency. Mowanjum is distinguished for the rich cultural heritage of the 3 groups which have settled there–the Wororra, Ngarinyin, and Wanambul–the native peoples of the NW Kimberley region. Mowanjum is home to over 52 dwellings, a School and most importantly the Mowanjum Arts Community which has art from a dynamic range of indigenous communities that call Mowanjum home.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
Top image: Donny Woolagoodja’s Wandjina Spirit Namaralie at the Sydney Olympics. Image via www.mowanjumarts.com.
He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.
James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
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