A WA not-for-profit that provides essential services to remote Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara has successfully gone off-grid, after installing a 100kW solar plant with 70kWh of battery storage.
The Pilbara Meta Maya Regional Aboriginal Corporation revealed its plans to quit the grid in December last year, in the same week that the WA government called on state-owned utility Horizon Power to investigate renewables based micro-grids as a means of providing cheaper and more reliable power to regional areas.
The group said at the time that it had wanted to build a grid connected solar array to supplement the power supply to its home base in Wedgefield, Port Hedland, but that it had been advised that an independent power system could be built at a lower cost than if it was attached to the grid.
“[An engineering company] had been engaged to install a grid connect solar array at our new office and depot in Port Hedland, but due to constraints required by Horizon Power, the system was not financially viable,” said PMMRAC general manager Luke van Zeller.
“They were able to engineer and demonstrate that we would be better off installing a larger solar array connected to a large battery that would produce and store all of the energy we would need, and at a lower cost than our current Horizon tariff.”
The installer said this week that the “first of its kind” solar-plus-storage plant had now been successfully commissioned, and was generating power for the PMMRAC HQ, the delivery of which was fully automated by EMC’s control system.
They expect PMMRAC to recoup the project cost over the next five years.
Top image: PMMRAC Headquarters. (Image via MetaMaya.com.au.)
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