Due to a number of recent developments, including an expansion of its international terminal and planned and predicted price increases from Power Water Corporation, Darwin Airport undertook an investigation into options for managing expenditure of electricity. Ekistica was engaged to complete a feasibility study involving the analysis of a range of options, gas turbines, rooftop PV arrays, PV arrays on covered carparks and ground-mount PV systems.

This study recommended the development of a 4MWp PV system as a key mechanism for reducing the peak demand on the network and thus the aggregate costs to DIA, with the proposed PV system to be integrated into the existing HV Network via an extension to the existing HV Ring Main with new controls implemented to manage ring main switching and integration with operation of existing gensets.

Image courtesy of Darwin Airport. Photo by Glenn Campbell.

Image courtesy of Darwin Airport. Photo by Glenn Campbell.

Ekistica developed this project with NT Airports from inception, including developing the initial financial models and preparing the documentation required for the internal FID process. Subsequently, Ekistica undertook all of the engineering design work for the project, preparation of tender documentation, tender and contract management; and project managements services for the installation and commissioning.

This has included designing for both cyclonic winds and high levels of lighting as well preparation of glare assessments for airport safety compliance requirements and securing all other approvals for the system from the various national regulatory and airport compliance agencies. The 4MW array was commissioning in May 2016, with Ekistica now managing the development of a further 1.5MW expansion, planned to be commissioned in early 2017. This project is the largest airside PV system in the southern hemisphere, and the largest fully privately financed solar PV system in Australia.