Skip navigation

Pages tagged "Original Power"

Marlinja Microgrid

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. 

Located in the Barkly region, Marlinja sits halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, around 25 kms north of Elliot. 

The community is home to approximately 60 residents, situated on the traditional lands of the Mudburra and Jingili people. 

The Marlinja Microgrid project is Phase Two of a partnership between the Marlinja community and Original Power which began in 2019 when Marlinja residents invited them to partner on developing the renewable energy solution. 

Phase One 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.

The Marlinja Microgrid installed in June 2024 is a grid-connected 100 kilowatt (kw) solar array provided by technology partner 5B and a 136Kwh battery, aiming to provide a majority of residents' daytime and nighttime energy needs.

A key feature of the Marlinja project is an innovative benefit sharing trial developed by Original Power with support from Northern Territory government retailer Jacana Energy to share solar cost savings direct to the meters of Marlinja households. For the first time, First Nations pre-paid meter customers will benefit directly and equitably from their own solar investment, similar to the behind-the-meter benefits received by households with rooftop solar. 

Original Power was involved in managing the development of the project from design through to fundraising, installation and commissioning, with plans for ongoing support, training and employment for community in the operational and maintenance phases. 

Community members were engaged in project planning, installation of solar panels, and training in electrical technology and carpentry skills.

The Marlinja Microgrid is the first grid-connected First Nations community-owned renewable energy project in Australia, blazing a trail for other remote communities to begin designing their own renewable energy solutions and improving community wellbeing with lower cost, more reliable electricity.

Watch a video of the community centre solar installation


First Nations community-owned microgrid in Australia being launched in June

The small community of Marlinja in the Northern Territory is set to become home to Australia’s first 100% First Nations-owned and grid-connected solar microgrid.

Read more

First Nations community solving long standing energy security problems with clean energy projects

The community of Marlinja in the Northern Territory is developing a microgrid. The 100kw solar array and 136kWh battery will be connected at the end of April.
Read more

From prepaid electricity to solar credits: How one First Nations household is changing the story

Norman Frank Jupurrurla from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory got rooftop solar on his home, but it wasn't easy.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.


Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more