NT’s Daly River Solar + Storage Project A “Shining Light”

Hybrid diesel, solar and storage

SETuP Solar + Battery At Daly River (Nauiyu) | Image: ARENA

The remote aboriginal community of Daly River will be the first in the Northern Territory to reach 50% renewables, thanks to solar and battery storage, and will serve as a model for powering others.

Daly River (Nauiyu) is a community of around 650 people situated 230km south of Darwin. Like many remote indigenous communities, electricity has been provided via diesel generators.

Work is progressing on a solar/battery/diesel hybrid system to reduce its fossil fuel dependence, enabling the Daly River community to be powered fully by renewables during the day and saving 400,000 litres of diesel per year in the process.

The system features 3,200 solar panels with a collective 1MW peak output that will charge a 2MWh Samsung lithium-ion battery system.

The project, part of the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP), has been jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Northern Territory Government.

“As battery costs reduce over the next few years, solar and battery technology will become more and more economically compelling as an alternative to traditional ways of powering remote communities,” said ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht.

Minister for Essential Services Gerry McCarthy inspected the solar and battery site last week.

“I congratulate the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for their investment in small-scale renewable energy innovation and thank them for their critical contributions to renewable energy in the Territory,” stated Minister McCarthy.

The project, along with others under SETuP, is being managed by Power and Water, which is responsible for electricity transmission and distribution across the entire Northern Territory – an area of more than 1.3 million square kilometres.

Power and Water’s Chief Executive Michael Thomson said an important part of the Daly River project was ensuring the community was engaged and felt a sense of ownership.

“Our local engagement throughout the project has significantly helped shape the project and brings it into fruition,” he said. “Through this, the locals understand how the battery + solar panels benefit the environment, reducing emissions, diesel and noise pollution.”

Daly River was also the site of an earlier research project that resulted in the development of a handbook on solar/diesel hybrid systems and related modelling software – another ARENA/Power and Water Corporation venture.

After a somewhat slow start, SETuP has been picking up pace.

Last month we reported the program had to that point resulted in 3.325 MW of solar power capacity rolled out in ten remote Aboriginal communities. The program will install an additional 9MW of solar capacity across 27 more Northern Territory communities; with all systems in place by the end of next year.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Hi Michael, great article. I would just like to add that the Energy Storage System was build by QINOUS. Just the batteries are coming from Samsung SDI. The system has 800kVA/2000kWh. Happy to share further information with you.

Speak Your Mind


%d bloggers like this: