Project Overview

Client:  EPURON
Location: Yulara (Uluru – Ayres Rock)
Project Value (prior to variations): 6.5M + GST
Final Value (including variations): On time and budget
Project timeframe:  commenced July 2015 and completed March 2016  (on site for construction for 5 months)
Design/construct or engineers design used:  CPS National

CPS National was engaged by Epuron to design, supply, install and maintain a 1.8MWp solar PV system at the Ayers Rock Resort in Yulara NT.

Yulara is home to the Ayers Rock Resort which is the gateway to the iconic Uluru Kata Juta National Park.  The resort comprises a variety of tourist accommodation including the Sails in the Desert Hotel, Desert Gardens Hotel, Emu Walk Apartments, the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge and the Ayers Rock Campground. The majority of land at Yulara and the whole of the Resort is owned by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land Corporation.

In addition to the Resort, Voyages owns and manages various other facilities in Yulara including a shopping complex, commercial laundry, landfill, and an extensive residential housing complex. Voyages also manage the Ayers Rock (Connellan) Airport under a leasehold arrangement with the Northern Territory Government.

Under the arrangements with Voyages, Epuron will own and operate the 1.8MW solar power station which is located across five different facilities at the resort.   Instead of using a more traditional Power Purchase Agreement, Epuron and Voyages negotiated an Availability Leasing model, which more effectively shares the long-term risks and opportunities of running solar PV systems in remote areas.

The existing Yulara power station is fuelled by diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) delivered daily via road train from Alice Springs, approximately 450 kilometres from the resort. The integration of solar PV into the existing Yulara mini-grid was identified as a key way to reduce the resort’s energy costs over the long term as well as reducing their exposure to energy price volatility and decreasing the resort’s carbon emissions.

The PV installation will provide approximately 15 per cent of Yulara’s average electricity demand and 30 per cent of peak demand.  The separate solar PV arrays will also be physically dispersed around Yulara and located near points of high demand in order to minimise network variability and increase reliability.

The 1.8MW installation is comprised of five separate PV systems ranging in size from around 100 kilowatts to 1 megawatt:

  1. Desert Gardens (DG) – 1,058 kWp ground mount PV system
  2. Laundry (LD) – 328 kWp ground mount PV system
  3. Service Station (SS) – 227 kWp ground-mounted PV system
  4. Connellan Airport (CA) – 106 kWp roof-mount PV system
  5. Sails in the Desert (SD) – 107 kWp roof mount PV system

The CPS National scope of works included the full Engineer Procure and Construct. CPS is very proud to have been involved in this highly iconic Australian project, is grateful for the opportunity presented by EPURON and applauds Voyages for their vision to supporting the site with a more environmentally sustainable approach to energy generation.