Located at the eastern end of the main runway, the PV array includes 15,000 solar panels over six hectares and has an expected lifespan of 25 years.
The $13 million project will now progress to stage 2, which will see another 1.5MW added to become the largest ‘behind the meter’ PV system (onsite power production facility intended for use on site) designed and built for a single building or facility in Australia. Once the project has been fully realised, it is predicted that the solar system will be able to fulfil 100 percent of the airport’s peak energy demand in the middle of the day, as well as generating 25 percent of the airport’s overall energy needs. This will mean a reduction in the airport’s power bill of around $1.5 million a year.
Another interesting facet of the project is that is has been funded solely by private sector investment making it the largest private sector-funded solar PV installation in Australia. The funding body is Northern Territory Airports, one of the Territory’s largest private sector investors, with its parent group Airport Development Group (ADG) owning and operating airports in Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
Darwin International Airport is ‘lighting the way’ towards a more sustainable future by showing leadership in reducing its carbon footprint. Darwin Solar 1.5MW Stage 2 is currently underway and due to be completed by the end of 2016.