8 May 2024

New solar farm to provide nearly half of Robertson Barracks’ power

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Robertson Barracks solar farm

Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite (centre) officially opens the Robertson Barracks solar farm on 7 May. Photo: ADF.

Defence has unveiled a new solar farm at Robertson Barracks near Darwin, which is designed to provide more than 40 per cent of the base’s energy requirements.

Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite officially switched on the solar farm during a visit to the Top End for Northern Territory Defence Week, an annual event where DefenceNT and local industry participate in defence and industry events, initiatives and trade shows to promote the development of the Territory’s defence support industry.

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The opening of the solar farm comes just weeks after a 3.2 MW solar and battery installation was opened at RAAF Base Darwin in late January. The Robertson Barracks installation is made up of 27,000 panels and will have a 10-MW capacity, and excess energy can be fed back into Darwin’s power grid if required.

The upgrades to RAAF Darwin, Robertson Barracks, the port of Darwin and HMAS Coonawarra, RAAF Tindal, Delamere and Bradshaw Ranges, the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct, Harts Range, Mount Bundey Airfield and other defence facilities in the NT are part of a program of critical infrastructure upgrades across not only the Territory but Australia’s north as a whole to increase capacity and to make bases more resilient in the face of threats and major weather events.

RAAF Darwin solar farm

The RAAF Base Darwin solar farm was opened in late January. Photo: ADF.

Mr Thistlethwaite said Defence is playing its role in accelerating the transition to clean energy, increasing resilience and reducing emissions across Defence bases.

“The Robertson Barracks solar farm shows how Defence is partnering with industry to deliver renewable energy, improving energy security and reducing emissions across the Defence estate,” he said.

“This is the largest solar farm on a Defence base in Australia. It will dramatically reduce Defence’s energy costs, improve the base’s energy resilience, and reduce carbon emissions in the local community.

“I want to thank Lendlease and Orocon for being involved in the construction of this project,” he added.

“The great beauty of this project is that they employed hundreds of locals, many of them Indigenous workers as well, in the construction of this facility.

“The Defence estate plays a critical role in supporting ADF operational readiness, and having a safe and maintained estate is integral to capability and supporting ADF members who live, work and train on base.”

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