The solar resource has been unused until last week when 160 kW of PV generation was connected across four community buildings under Horizon Power’s Solar Incentives Scheme.
It is situated at Great Northern Highway, closer to Broome (180km away) than to Perth (1,590 km). Bidyadanga has 750 residents. The lives and activities have until now been 100% powered by diesel generation — a costly, noisy and polluting electricity source at odds with this superb natural landscape on the edge of the Indian Ocean.
The importance of the Solar Inducements Scheme is to reduce the cost of energy in remote groups and hence the taxpayer-funded subsidy received by Horizon Power, Western Australia’s regional utility, to bring electricity to far-flung locations.
The system was installed by Djarindin and Lombadina Corporations, also in the West Kimberley, which have fitted solar panels and inverters that are likely to reduce their energy bills by up to $40,000 a year.
Under the arrangement which runs until June 2020, Horizon Power will provide 30% (capped at $100,000 per project) of the open wealth price of solar systems installed by eligible Aboriginal Corporations in its constituency.
The Bidyadanga community would eventually like to see solar on the roofs of houses in the community, to help persons decrease their power bills.
Meanwhile, the community’s management building, general store, community service center and local workshop are now running on sunshine.