A huge 4MW solar PV array has been switched on at Darwin International Airport – part one of what will eventually be a 5.5MW system all up, but which on it’s own is believed to be the world’s largest airport solar system.
The $13 million project, which will add another 1.5MW in phase two, will also be the largest ‘behind the meter’ PV system designed and built for a single building or facility in Australia.
Once complete it is forecast to meet up to 100 per cent of the airport’s peak energy demand in the middle of the day and to generate 25 per cent of the airport’s overall energy needs, cutting the airport’s power bills by $1.5 million a year based on current peak tariff rates.
The project is also notable for being financed entirely by private sector investment, making it the largest private sector-funded solar PV installation in Australia, according to NT Airports.
Northern Territory Airports is one of the Territory’s largest private sector investors, with its parent group Airport Development Group (ADG) owning and operating airports in Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
As we reported in August 2015, Alice Springs Airport has a total solar PV capacity of 800kW, making it almost energy self-sufficient.
Darwin Solar 1.5MW Stage 2 is now underway to be completed by end of 2016.