Horizon Power has officially opened what it says is the world’s first “high=penetration” solar, diesel power station in the remote Pilbara towns of Marble Bar and Nullagine.
The project includes more than 2000 solar panels across both towns and incorporates solar tracking systems that follow the path of the sun in each town throughout the day. Diesel motors are used to generate electricity when there is insufficient solar power. It will provide 65% of the towns’ daytime electricity from solar power.
Flywheel technology allows energy generated from the solar panels to be stored and regulated in the short term, removing the need for a constant deisel backup generator. If the panels shut down because of cloud cover or any other reason, the flywheel provides 500 kilowatts of energy for about five minutes, which is enough time to start one of the diesel engines.
The system is classified as “high penetration” because it provides most of the towns’ electricity.
A 1,350 solar panel system is already in operation in Marble Bar and a 900 panel system in Nullagine is expected to be full operational by October.