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Uluru resort goes solar with CEFC, ARENA help

A resort at Uluru in the Northern Territory is enjoying the benefits of solar power, thanks to a 1.8 megawatt system installed with the help of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The CEFC last year provided a loan of $4.7 million to renewable energy company Epuron to construct, own and maintain the $7 million, 5770-module solar PV system at Ayers Rock Resort.

Business owner Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia also received $450,000 from ARENA to analyse and promote learnings and expertise gained through developing and constructing the system.

The solar panels are expected to generate enough power to cover 30 per cent of the resort’s daytime energy use, and 15 per cent of its total energy use.

“This project displaced expensive and inefficient power generated using trucked-in fuel with clean on-site power from the sun,” CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates said. “It was economic in its own right and better for the environment.”

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said the project proved solar was economical in remote areas.

“Voyages was able to build the solar installation with limited government support, using an operational lease model never before delivered at this scale,” he said. “As a result, it will benefit from significant savings in the Resort’s power expenses over the next 20 years.”

He said the knowledge generated through this project would help other off-grid and remote businesses get solar projects off the ground.

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt this week revealed there had been “no change in government policy” around cutting the CEFC and ARENA. However, it has been reported by The Guardian that the government may move to merge the two bodies.

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