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New solar farm opens at RAAF Base Darwin

written by Robert Dougherty | February 6, 2024

A new solar farm operated by Assure Energy is installed at RAAF Base Darwin as part of the ADF’s commitment to clean energy in the Northern Territory. (Image: Corporal Madhur Chitnis/Defence)

The federal government has opened a new 9,000-panel solar farm at RAAF Base Darwin in the Northern Territory.

The 3.2-megawatt system solar farm, operated and maintained by Assure Energy, is expected to deliver up to 40 per cent of the Australian Defence Force base’s energy requirements.

Construction of the solar farm included design of the solar array and battery storage solution, procurement, installation, and commissioning of the system, following the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement between Defence and Assure Energy NT Darwin in April 2019.

“It’s a 3.2-megawatt system, 9,000 solar panels, and that will provide about 40 per cent of the base’s energy needs and it will save about $130,000 a year for the base in electricity costs,” according to Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite, speaking to ABC’s Darwin Breakfast in January.

“That’s obviously savings that Defence can make to invest in better facilities for troops and in capability into the future. So, this is a really important investment that we’re launching.


“It’s one of a few here in the top end, another one at Robertson Barracks, and another one at Hart’s Range.

“They’ll come online in the first quarter of this year as well, and these are part of the Defence’s Renewable Energy and Energy Security Program and it’s aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

“This particular project reduces about 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. So, that’s a cleaner environment for the people in the Top End and an energy saving as well.

“It predominantly powers the base but if there’s any left over, it can feed into the grid.”

The solar farm has been completed as part of the Australian Defence Force commitment to clean energy in the Northern Territory, in line with the Defence Strategic Review recommendations.

Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said there is also a predicted increase in rotational forces expected to take place this year in the region.

“You’re going to see about 100 additional troops come to Darwin, but also you’re going to see … increases in the rotational forces that are coming through here,” he said.

“As part of the US Force Posture Initiative, we’re starting to see an increase in the number of annual and bi-annual exercises that are occurring, Pitch Black and others that will be occurring here in the non-wet season.

“These are all important exercises that will see many more troops rotate through Darwin and continue that great tradition of this as a garrison town.”

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