Daly River is set to become the first remote community in the Northern Territory to be powered by solar and battery as the $55 million Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) rolls out.

As part of the program a 2MWh lithium-ion battery charged by 3,200 solar panels with 1MW peak output will be installed, thanks to funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Northern Territory Government.

The battery system will enable diesel engines to be turned off during the day, saving 400,000 litres of fuel per year and enabling a cleaner and quieter system.

The outcomes of the Daly River site, managed by Power and Water, are expected to guide deployment of more renewable energy in other remote communities as these technologies become cost effective and deliver further diesel and maintenance savings.

“As battery costs reduce over the next few years, solar and battery technology will become more and more economically compelling as an alternative to traditional ways of powering remote communities,” said ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht.

“We’re excited to see the outcomes of the Daly River installation which will help guide deployment of more renewable energy in other remote communities as the technology becomes more cost effective.”

Power and Water CEO Michael Thomson said the battery will store enough energy to supply half the town’s energy needs, reducing the reliance on diesel by 50%.

Local communities were engaged throughout the construction process, and local Indigenous workers were employed in flora and fauna surveys, fencing, installation and construction.