Alice Springs Airport Solar Power Station
Alice Springs is one of seven Solar Cities in the Australian Government’s $94 million Solar Cities Program.
Alice Springs Airport’s Solar Power Station opened for business in September 2010 and, using Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) technology, now supplies about 28 per cent of the airport’s energy needs.
Alice Springs is the first Australian airport to have a large scale (over 100kW) photovoltaic system providing a direct source of renewable energy to its internal grid.
Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems are an emerging solar technology that offer perhaps the greatest opportunity for cost reductions in photovoltaic (PV) systems. They are more efficient as they track the sun over the day whereas traditional solar power systems are most efficient only when the sun is shining directly onto the solar arrays.
The project, valued at $2.3 million, resulted from a grant of $1.132 million from the Australian Government, as part of the Alice Solar City Project.
National solar energy specialist Ingenero was the principal contractor for the solar power station, which is about 700 metres north-west of the terminal building.
Reducing the Airport’s carbon emissions by about 470 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year (the equivalent of about 70 Alice Springs households per annum), the Airport has also implemented a number of energy efficiency measures inside the airport terminal building. These initiatives reconfirm Northern Territory Airports’ commitment to sustainability.
Rodger Whitby, General Manager, Generation for Ingenero, said the company had searched the world for the best Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) technology and is pleased to have built this “first of its kind” solar installation in the southern hemisphere.
“We chose SolFocus as technology partner because of its leading edge solar concentration technology. The concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) arrays use mirrored dishes to magnify the sun’s energy 650 times,” he said.
The 7m x 8m arrays are brought to life each day by the sun. They follow the sun throughout each day, much like sunflowers, creating clean, renewable energy for the airport.
Local labour was used to install the 28 arrays, and the project was finished on time, on budget and to the highest standards.