NBN Co invests in clean energy

The Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN Co) has lowered its environmental impact with the installation of several solar PV arrays as it plans to upgrade the entire Australian communication infrastructure.


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To ensure this government initiative will provide future generations with many years of high speed broadband access, a combined 1.75MW solar power capacity was installed across the majority of NBN’s Satellite Earth Stations (SES) and Technical Aggregation Node and Development (TAND) facilities.

Solgen Energy Group designed and installed the solar power systems to offset the power consumption of these facilities. We rolled out two types of solar power across various sites for NBN Co; roof mounted solar array were installed for metropolitan TAND sites and ground mounted solar arrays were installed for the remotely based SES sites.


Solar power project details

Location:/td>Various sites across Australia
Date completed:2016
Solar system peak capacity:1.75MW
Panels:6795 solar panels
Inverter:75 SMA Sunny Tripower Inverters
Green savings:2,026 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year
Solar electricity generated:2,894.69 Megawatt hours of energy a year

Taking into account the natural surrounds, especially the remote locations, the solar panel arrays were designed at an angle and pitch to allow for optimal self-cleaning of the solar panels used.

All TAND sites have two separate transformers and a dual power supply system to avoid interrupted during a power failure. These factors meant that the solar power system needed to be designed to provide a uniform amount of power to both supplies during its operation. For most SES solar sites, we designed standard mounting systems.

One remote site, however, was incompatible with the standard ground mounting system due to the uneven, sloping landscape. At this site, we used Clenergy’s SolarTerrace V series, one of the first instances where the utility grade mounting system has been used in Australia. This series features post-head adjustability, providing a solid but flexible base that works with the natural contours of the landscape.

Due to the various energy provider’s policy, all sites utilised additional control circuitry to ensure zero power export was easily achieved, and where necessary no energy would feed back into the grid. In order to ensure the systems are capable of this function, we incorporated the SMA Cluster Controller unit into the design of the solar power arrays. This device monitors all energy coming in and out of the electrical system, and controls whether or not energy is fed back into the grid.

The Cluster Controller also allows for remote monitoring of the solar power arrays via the SMA Sunny Tripower inverters. Real-time data can be easily accessed by NBN Co. through the integration of the solar panel monitoring into their Business Management System (BMS).


The installation of the combined 1.75MW solar power capacity at NBN’s sites will:

  • Demonstrate the Federal Government’s investment in clean and renewable sources of electricity.
  • Generate an annual estimated energy output of 2,894.69 MWh of renewable energy.
  • Offset the equivalent CO2 emissions in taking 427 passenger vehicles off the road every year.
  • Offset the equivalent CO2 emissions equivalent to 279 homes’ electricity use for one year.
  • Offset up to 2,026.289 tonnes of CO2 each year.
  • Offset the equivalent CO2 emissions equivalent from burning 987,228kg of coal a year.

To enquire about how solar can facilitate your business, contact our energy consultants today.


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