DKA Solar Centre
Live demonstrations of solar technology that drive research around the world.
The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, launched in 2008 in Alice Springs, is the largest multi-technology solar demonstration facility in the world. The site provides a space for different solar photovoltaic technologies to be installed, operated and monitored under the same conditions.
The unique facility currently houses over 40 installations from different manufacturers; and showcases live demonstrations of photovoltaic technologies spanning many types, ages, makes, models and configurations. The arid region’s typically sunny and cloud-free skies provide favourable weather conditions for the site, which generates an average of 420,000 kilowatt hours annually. The Solar Centre supplies approximately 40% of the power consumed at the Desert Knowledge Precinct, saving over 330 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The DKA Solar Centre website hosts live open-access energy performance data from its arrays and information from onsite weather stations. Catering to 10,000 website visitors each year, the data is accessed for research, investment, technology development, education and private use.
The data also supports research initiatives from Australian and international organisations undertaking scientific studies in photovoltaic systems, power grids, clean energy, and related fields. Research has covered topics such as solar penetration in Australia, PV power forecasting, the impact of grid voltage on PV system performance, and assessments of PV modelling software.
The site, which was initially established with $3.1m funding from the Commonwealth Government, is now commercially self-sustainable. DKA partners with engineering firm Ekistica to manage the Solar Centre’s ongoing operations.