Two solar farms are to be constructed in Western Australia’s Pilbara region in the townships of Marble Bar and Nullagine at a cost of 25 million dollars, reducing the dependency of the communities on fossil fuel for electricity production, namely diesel generators.
The solar electricity production will save the communities 35-40 percent in diesel consumption annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1100 tonnes per annum.
Powered by over 2000 high efficiency Sunpower monocrystalline solar panels, the project will have a combined capacity of 500 kilowatts and generate an estimated gigawatt of renewable energy for the local communities each year over the next 2 decades. According to ABS 2006 census data, Marble bar has a population of 194 and Nullagine, around 200.
In addition to the panels, a single axis solar tracking system will be implemented that will tilt the solar modules to follow the sun throughout the day; capturing 30 per cent more energy. The project will be the largest solar tracking system in Australia and the first high penetration hybrid solar photovoltaic diesel power station in the world.
The project is a partnership of Horizon Power, PowerCorp and SunPower Australia. Construction is expected to be complete by September 2009. Last month, SunPower also announced that the construction of a 305 kilowatt rooftop solar farm for the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.