Australia: Remote Aboriginal community saves with solar

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The remote Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation, in the northwest of Australia, has installed a 130 kilowatt (kW) thin film photovoltaic installation across community buildings. The solar system has begun dramatically reducing electricity bills, which can fluctuate by up to AUD10,000 (US$10,680) between the wet and dry seasons.

SMA Inverters and Solar Frontier CIGS/CIS modules were used in the installation. The thin film modules were selected as they have a more favorable temperature co-efficient and therefore perform well in high temperatures.

Mowanjum Corporation CEO Steve Austin has been quoted, in a statement announcing the installation, in saying that the systems have halved electricity bills during the dry season, and have taken, "a sizeable chunk out of wet season bills".

The Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation and community is ten kilometers from the town of Derby and comprises three aboriginal groups in the region, the Wororra, Ngarinyin and Wanambul. The Mowanjum Arts Community is a one of the community buildings powered by the photovoltaic array and is a center of economic and cultural activity in the region.

Solar Choice was the tender manager of the installation.