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Marlinja Community Solar

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.

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Wilya Janta Standing Strong fundraising for energy secure homes in the Barkly

Waramungu elders from the Wilya Janta (Standing Strong) housing collaboration are raising funds for two demonstration homes to be built in Tennant Creek. The houses will be solar-powered, well-insulated and water efficient.

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A microgrid for Borroloola is a step closer

This week Borroloola community members came together to launch the Ngardara Cooperative to drive development of its proposed 2.5MW solar microgrid aimed at re-powering the remote township of Borroloola in the Northern Territory's Gulf Country.


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Building the clean energy workforce of the future

A new pilot training program aimed at introducing First Nations communities to the clean energy industry is underway. A small team of First Nations workers learned the basics of solar installation by powering a series of tiny homes with panels and batteries in an intensive five-day renewable energy program held earlier this month in Mataranka, Northern Territory.

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Ngardara ‘Sun’ Project

The Ngardara ‘Sun’ Project in Borroloola, Northern Territory is in development.

The community is working with Original Power and renewable energy experts to conduct a feasibility study to design and build their own solar microgrid. 

The project will cut local energy costs and reduce reliance on the town’s ageing and polluting diesel generators, providing a model for community ownership of power generation assets that can be shared with other communities seeking to benefit from and expand the reach of the clean energy revolution.

The 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.


Cosmos: Calls for extension of solar power to more Indigenous communities

In Tennant Creek, the sun shines about 300 days of the year but for many in the Indigenous community, that energy isn’t being put to good use in the home.

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ANU: Rooftop solar a game-changer for First Nations prepay customers in the Top End

Rooftop solar can reduce energy insecurity and improve wellbeing among First Nations households pre-paying for electricity in the Northern Territory.

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Connected: rooftop solar, prepay and reducing energy insecurity in remote Australia

Australia is a world leader in per-capita deployment of rooftop solar PV with more than three million households realising benefits including reduced energy bills and improved energy security. However, these benefits are unevenly distributed. Research shows First Nations residents of public housing in remote Australia using prepay metering experience frequent ‘self-disconnection’ from energy services, a known indicator of energy insecurity. Upfront capital costs and an absence of local regulations codifying the ability to connect solar PV have long locked out these households from realising benefits of energy transition in regions host to world class renewable energy generation potential. This article describes early experiences of those residents among the first to install and grid-connect rooftop solar to prepay in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. In addition to reduced electricity expenditures, rooftop solar PV mitigates experiences of energy insecurity through reducing the incidence of involuntary ‘self-disconnection’ due to inability to pay. Support for rooftop solar for prepay households can alleviate frequent exposure to disconnection, bringing multiple co-benefits. Policy responses should focus on reducing barriers to realising the benefits of rooftop PV for priority communities, including First Nations families living in public housing using prepay.

By Bradley Riley, Lee V. White, Simon Quilty, Thomas Longden, Norman Frank Jupurrurla, Serena Morton Nabanunga & Sally Wilson (2023) Connected: rooftop solar, prepay and reducing energy insecurity in remote Australia, Australian Geographer, DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2023.2214959

Opening Plenary

Welcome to Country. Introductions and setting the scene.


• Cissy Gore-Birch, MC
• Jamie Lowe, National Native Title Council
• Karrina Nolan, First Nations Clean Energy Network / Original Power
• Chris Crocker, First Na5ons Clean Energy Network / Impact IP

Opportunities and challenges of clean energy for our mob

Across the country, First Nations communities are right now designing and building renewables, from small-scale solar to microgrids, while others are negotiating with large-scale proponents. Hear from them about what’s working, what’s not, and what they’ve learnt along the way.


• Ellie Kamara, CEO, Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation
• Jason King, TO, Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation
• Les Shultz, Mirning / Ngadju
• Gadrian Hoosan, Borroloola
• Lauren Mellor, Original Power