Case Study: Yulara Project

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What is the context/background to the project and how did it come about? (Is it part of an ongoing partnership?)

  • Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia (“Voyages”) was seeking to reduce electricity costs at the flagship Ayers Rock result and evaluated several options before settling on solar. At the same time, Epuron has been very active in bringing solar projects to completion in regional Australia, such as the TKLN off grid projects and the Alice Springs Uterne 4.1MW plant. Due to the experience of Epuron in the Northern Territory, the company was a front-runner in the tender process operated by Voyages through Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT).

What is unique or noteworthy about this project?

  • Having completed detailed feasibility studies and concept designs, the owners of Ayers Rock Resort, Voyages, then conducted an innovative tendering process for construction of a 1.8 megawatt PV system. Instead of utilising a more traditional Power Purchase Agreement, Voyages used an Availability Leasing model, which more effectively shares the long-term risks and opportunities of running solar PV systems in remote areas.
  • This project is the first utility scale plant to be proposed and completed by an Indigenous Land Council. Separately, it is one of the few to carefully analyse system performance. ARENA is providing $450,000 funding for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia to analyse and share the learning and expertise gained from the $7 million project with the wider solar industry and production is visible on Desert Knowledge website operated by

What were the client’s main motivations in having the solar system installed?

  • Voyages reduce operating costs for both the resort and its existing electricity supplier (Power and Water Corporation).

Were there any unique financial considerations in the decision, such as feed-in tariffs, grants, funding, subsidies, etc?

  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) provided an AUD$4.7 million facility to Epuron as part of the project, separately ARENA provided $450,000 for monitoring and analysis purposes

Why did the client choose your company to deliver the project?

  • Epuron was selected due to the company’s innovative finance package, experience in delivering projects in NT, and close working relationships with CEFC and major banks. Jinko Solar Eagle series PID free modules were attractive due to the strong track record of Jinko Solar globally in large projects, Jinko’s ability to deliver on time, and competitive price points.

What’s the nature of the client’s power needs, and how did they lend themselves to a solar PV solution?

  • Yulara relies on a diesel mini grid managed by Power and Water Corporation. Accordingly, the cost of supply for stakeholders and frequency of diesel deliveries required was an ongoing burden.

How did you determine the size of the installed system, and what percentage of the client’s power needs does this represent?
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia conducted extensive feasibility analysis in conjunction with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) at Alice Springs, and it is expected that the combined system will provide approximately 15 per cent of the resort’s average electricity demand and 30 per cent of peak demand
What were the unique challenges faced during the design/installation/commissioning of this project?g. overshadowing, difficult roof angles, multiple roof surfaces, etc. Please give details and describe how the challenges were overcome.

  • One of the challenges of any project with multiple stakeholders is gaining agreement around objectives and layout. This is particularly the case with incumbent generators in place, multiple financiers, and existing land use patterns in such a serene environment. Epuron worked with Voyages and CAT to create a design that was sensitive to the requirements of the resort whilst delivering an efficient design.

If the project is already complete, what has the client’s reaction been since the system came online? Have they noticed any power savings?

  • Only recently completed.

How many tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas emissions will be saved by the installation?

  • The project is to offset diesel emissions, which have slightly lower CO2 emissions than coal. It is expected to offset a minimum of 2733 tonnes CO2e per year.

Additional information
About Jinko Solar
JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) is a global leader in the solar industry. Here in Australia, JinkoSolar has supplied numerous landmark projects such as Royalla 20MW, Brisbane Markets, Yulara, and more. Globally, JinkoSolar has built a vertically integrated solar product value chain, with an integrated annual capacity 4.3 GW for solar modules, 3 GW for silicon ingots and wafers, 2.5 GW for solar cells, as of December 31, 2015. JinkoSolar also sells electricity in China, and had connected approximately 1,006.6 MW of solar power projects to the grid, as of December 31, 2015.
JinkoSolar has over 15,000 employees across its 5 productions facilities in Jiangxi and Zhejiang Provinces, China, Malaysia, Portugal and South Africa, 12 global sales offices in China, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico and 11 oversea subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Japan, India, South Africa and Chile.
About Ayers Rock Resort and Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia
Ayers Rock Resort provides a variety of accommodation from the premium Sails in the Desert hotel, Award-winning Desert Gardens Hotel, newly renovated Emu Walk Apartments, the authentic Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge and Ayers Rock Campground. Ayers Rock Resort is managed by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia. Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and manages tourism and resorts on its behalf.
Voyages offers unique experiences and cultural immersion in spectacular locations around Australia including Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory, Home Valley Station in The Kimberley in Western Australia and the Mossman Gorge Centre, in Tropical North Queensland. Voyages works collaboratively with local communities, respecting and supporting the local Indigenous cultures and offering employment and training opportunities to the local and broader Australian and Torres-Strait Islander Indigenous communities. Profits from all business activities are re-invested in the Indigenous and resort experiences and through the various training and development programs in place around Australia.

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