Uterne is the largest solar power station supplying the remote town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. “Uterne” means “bright sunny day” in the local Arrente language, and is the perfect name for a solar project located in one of the world’s best solar energy resources.
Ark Energy owns and operates the facility, with the power sold to the Northern Territory government’s energy utility Territory Generation under a long term power purchase agreement.
Alice Solar City’s largest iconic project, the 1 Megawatt Uterne I solar power station in Alice Springs has won an Engineering Excellence award at the Engineers Australia Northern Division Awards, taking out the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) Award for Sustainability.
“As the Southern Hemisphere’s largest tracking solar power plant, this project is the most iconic and notable example of efficient photovoltaic technology in Australia, integrating innovative products and advanced engineering practices and we are proud to play a part in its success.”
Built by Sunpower Australia with funding as part of the Alice Solar City initiative, the installation covers more than three hectares and consists of 3,048 ultra-efficient mono-crystalline panels installed across 254 tracking arrays. The system is projected to produce 2300 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year, equivalent to the annual consumption of 270 average Alice Springs households. The solar farm will produce about 1% of Alice Springs’ electricity a year and can meet 2% of peak demand on a sunny day.
Uterne II Expansion
Following the success of Uterne I, Ark Energy developed and commissioned the larger 3.1 Megawatt Uterne II project on adjacent land, bringing the total capacity of the site to 4.1 Megawatts. This project was built with the support of commercial finance provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Built by Sunpower Australia, the installation covers a similar land area to the existing project. However, the use of an alternate sun tracking mounting system has allowed approximately 3 times more power to be delivered from the same land area. The system is projected to produce 7230 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year, equivalent to the annual consumption of 840 average Alice Springs households. The solar farm will produce about 3% of Alice Springs’ electricity a year and can meet 6% of peak demand on a sunny day.
A viewing platform with interpretive signage has been provided at the western side of Uterne. To get to the viewing station turn off the Stuart Hwy at Norris Bell Ave, and then right at the Transport Hall of fame on an unsealed road. Follow this for a short distance until you come to the viewing platform.
Please note that this is a working power station and there is no public access within the compound.