A bright start to the year for ASKAP's renewable energy

Solar panel installation.

Solar panel installation.
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29 January 2016

The solar power station for CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope has been powering ahead at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia throughout January.

At the end of 2015, approximately two hectares of array support frames had been installed on site in preparation for the arrival of some 5000 photovoltaic panels that will form the solar farm at the MRO, and support a significant portion of the power requirements at the observatory.

The engineering, procurement and construction of the solar array, as well as an associated 2.5 MWh battery storage system, was contracted to speciality engineering company Energy Made Clean (EMC) in 2015.

One of EMC’s sub-contractors, Wajarri Holdings, has already completed the boring and concreting for the solar array, as well as the cable trenching work for the DC cables from the solar array. EMC has employed 12 young indigenous labourers from the local communities at Pia Wajarri and Mt Wittenoom station who have been working alongside the EMC team to install support frames and solar panels. EMC also engaged with local earthworks contractors from nearly Yuin Station.

EMC and CSIRO have also now started design work on the battery storage system, which will be the largest of its kind in Australia.

In the coming weeks, Horizon Power is also due to begin mobilisation of equipment to site in order to begin construction of the diesel plant and installation of main power feeder cables that will transmit power to the astronomy instruments at the MRO.

Solar panel installation.

CSIRO is constructing renewable energy solutions for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO). The ‘Sustainable Energy for the SKA’ (SESKA) project is an initiative of the Australian Government being conducted as part of the Education Investment Fund.

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