The Marlinja Community Solar project is a partnership between the Marlinja community and Original Power.
Marlinja is one of many Northern Territory remote communities experiencing extreme energy insecurity, with high household power costs and lengthy system outages that mean resident's experience regular disruptive electricity disconnection.
The community is home to approximately 60 residents, situated on the traditional lands of the Mudburra and Jingili people.
Phase One of this project saw the connection of a solar array on the Community Centre, reducing power bills. Residents were involved in project planning, installation of rooftop solar panels, and received training in electrical technology and carpentry skills. Marlinja school students also took part in a Solar Schools Day to learn more about how solar power works for the community.
Phase Two includes a community-wide transition to reduce reliance on the Power and Water Corporation-operated diesel-gas hybrid power station located in Elliott, with more locally produced solar and battery storage. A 100 kilowatt (KW) solar array and battery will be installed, providing a majority of residents' daytime and nighttime energy needs.
Once connected, the Marlinja Community Solar project will be the first grid-connected Indigenous community-owned renewable energy project in the Northern Territory, blazing a trail for other remote communities to begin owning and operating their own renewable energy infrastructure and improving community wellbeing with lower cost, more reliable electricity.
Installation of the solar array begins in December, with project commissioning planned for first quarter 2024.
It’s part of a much larger plan for the community to go 100% renewable and generate its own electricity from solar power with battery storage.
Community members are engaged in project planning, installation of rooftop solar panels, and training in electrical technology and carpentry skills.
The Marlinja project is moving through assessment with the assistance of Original Power and when completed, will be one of the first First Nations-owned community-scale renewable energy projects in the Northern Territory.