Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP)

SETuP Identifier

Power and Water is transforming the way power is delivered to remote communities by incorporating solar power to reduce reliance on diesel. With the support of the Northern Territory (NT) Government, Power and Water will deliver a wide-scale rollout of 10 MW of solar systems across 29 remote Indigenous communities. The $55 million program is co-funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and includes $27.5 million financed through the NT Government. The four year program launched in 2014, and will change Power and Water’s remote community energy supply portfolio, making solar energy an established part of future power station design.

SETuP has two key components:

1.Remote Community Solar Rollout:

There are a number of ways in which solar may be used in community scale power generation. Most solar SETuP sites will be constructed so that power from the solar panels is fed into the local grid, with no ability to store additional power in batteries. The new solar generation capacity is additional to the existing diesel generation at the powerhouse. As a result, the diesel generators will to do less work, resulting in 15% fuel savings. Nine megawatts (MW) of solar generation capacity will be integrated into 28 diesel power stations servicing remote Indigenous communities across the Territory.  Due to the ambitious nature of the work in such remote settings, the program will be rolled out in instalments.

John Holland Territoria Civil were the successful Engineer Procure and Construct (EPC) contractor for the first instalment, consisting of the following communities:



Docker River (Kaltukatjara)

Kintore (Walangkura)

Mt Liebig (Amunturangu)

Nyirripi (Waite Creek)





The second instalment is expected to go to market early Dry season 2017 and will include, but not be limited to the following communities:

Apatula (Finke)

Atitjere (Hart’s Range)


Titjikala (Maryvale)

Galiwinku (Elcho Island)

Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)



Minyerri (Hodgson Downs)


Umbakumba (Groote Eylandt)

Warruwi (Goulburn Island)

2.Nauiyu (Daly River) Solar Project:

A 1MW solar facility will be built at Nauiyu and will incorporate advanced technologies to allow clean energy production to meet 50% of the community’s annual electricity needs.

This project will offer the community of Nauiyu an even greater amount of solar contribution through the storage of power. A large battery system and flexible diesel generation operating modes are technologies that will enable a successful system. The battery will provide Nauiyu with 100% of its electricity demand during the day, allowing the diesel generators to be turned off.

We are building on lessons learnt from our Daly River solar/diesel optimisation research project in order to deliver this Solar SETuP project. Learnings from the Nauiyu project will determine the economic and operational viability of adding batteries to solar facilities for future remote power station design.

Benefits of the SETuP Program include:

  • Improved local air quality
  • Reduced long haul transport
  • Fewer trucks entering communities
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Protection from diesel price escalation

For more information, contact the Solar SETuP team on or call (08) 8924 5601

Published resources

Power and Water is committed to sharing the knowledge gained through this project and from previous projects.

For additional information relating to this project see:

SETuP communication materials produced to date include:

  • Whole Program Newsletter - September 2017
  • Media release - SETuP's Daly River is shining light on remote communities - 11 August - 2017
  • Media release - Solar SETuP's Tranche One completion powers the Northern Territory's communities - 24 July 2017
  • Media release - Solar powers up for strong community engagement - 17 March 2017
  • Media release - Kicking more goals for solar power - 5 August 2015
  • Media release – Cleaner, greener electricity for remote NT – 17 October 2014
  • Fact sheet - Nauiyu (Daly River) Solar/Diesel Hybrid Project - 17 October 2014
  • Fact sheet - Solar Energy Transformation Program - 9 September 2016
  • TVC - Solar Energy Transformation Program - 17 October 2014

For information on other projects go to Renewable Energy.