Solar farm energises airport operations
Construction is under way on a 16,000sqm solar farm which will provide up to one-third of Karratha Airport’s energy needs.
The solar farm will generate about 1824MW of energy a year and use cloud predictive technology, which will smooth out energy supply if big clouds move over the system.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency put $2.3 million towards the project in the hope of finding out whether CPT made solar generation cheaper.
SunEdison senior project manager Shingi Nhatarikwa said construction was expected to be completed by the end of July.
“The farm is expected to be operational mid-August 2016, following commissioning,” he said.
“We expect that the entire output of the farm will supply power to the airport buildings and precinct.
“All ordered long lead materials are tracking well and should start arriving in Karratha by end of (last) week.”
Mr Nhatarikwa said delays in finalising finance and construction contracts, as well as preliminary investigation works had put the project back past its mooted operational date, but it was now progressing in line with expectations.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the solar project was a step forward in demonstrating how successful harnessing the sun could be in the Pilbara.
“We have so much sunshine here in the Pilbara so it makes sense that we start looking at solar power for our energy needs as it becomes more financially viable,” he said.
“Making renewable energy like solar a larger part of our energy mix is going to give us a bright future not only by helping to reduce the City’s carbon footprint and potentially saving us money into the future, but also providing new opportunities for businesses to help grow our local economy.”
The solar project was well received at an airport conference hosted at the Karratha Airport last week.
SunEdison head of business development Tom Keddie, head of commercial sales Nick Brass, City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long and CPS National electrical supervisor Bruce Chapman.