Alice Springs’ quest to create a sustainable energy future has been boosted with the launch of the one-megawatt Uterne solar power station.
Uterne (pronounced ‘u-turn-ay’) is the largest tracking solar power station in Australia and will yield the most energy per annum compared with other solar photovoltaic (PV) installations throughout the country.
The $6.6 million power station is the fourth large-scale iconic project for Alice Solar City, as part of the Australian Government’s $94 million Solar Cities program.
Sam Latz, General Manager for Alice Solar City, said that in the three years since Alice Springs became a ‘solar city’, the town’s residents and business owners have embraced solar technology.
“The commercial sector has so far installed a total of 1140 kilowatts (kW) and the residential sector approximately 994 kW.
“The one megawatt (MW) Uterne power station will take solar generation for Alice to about 3.1 megawatts, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 650 average homes here.
“This is an impressive commitment for our population of just 27,000, and will further help us to become a community of energy champions.
“Alice Springs enjoys more than 200 clear days on average every year, making it an ideal location for solar installations such as Uterne. The town has attracted solar investment from all over the world, and Uterne will further enhance our reputation as a leader in solar technology.
“Interpretive displays at the Uterne site will also give visitors to Alice Springs an opportunity to see up close our commitment to renewable energy production.
“In addition, everyone in Alice Springs has the opportunity to invest in renewable energy by purchasing GreenPower through the Power and Water Corporation Northern Territory.
“While nearly 500 homeowners and businesses in Alice Springs have installed rooftop PV systems, not everyone can do this. They might have an unsuitable roof to install solar panels, they might not actually own the property or they simply can’t afford it.”
As each of the 254 tracking arrays follows the sun as it crosses over the sky, Uterne will provide power to the equivalent of 288 ‘average’ Alice Springs homes each year or supply 10% GreenPower to 2750 homes.
The Uterne solar power station was constructed by SunPower Corporation, which provided $3.3 million in funding, with the Australian Government funding the remaining $3.3 million. It is supported by a long-term power purchase agreement with the Power and Water Corporation.
Managing Director, Power and Water Corporation Northern Territory, Andrew Macrides said, “We are proud to be among the first in Australia to use this technology on this scale, and to make the benefits of solar power available to all residents in Alice Springs.”
For more information, visit www.alicesolarcity.com.au/uterne-solar-power-station.