A new indigenous-controlled energy company has plans to build solar power systems in regional areas as big as any existing projects in Australia.
Carey Power, a joint venture between indigenous-owned mining services provider Carey Mining and Perth solar energy specialist Next Power, is targeting mine camps as well as remote communities and local governments.
Next Power chief executive and Carey Power executive director Kieron D'Arcy said Carey Power planned to install systems of up to 10 megawatts, equal to the size of the nation's biggest solar plant being built in the Mid West.
"We haven't set a firm target as yet but the projects that we have in the mix are substantial," Mr D'Arcy said.
While none are secured yet, Carey Power has an MoU with regional electricity supplier Horizon Power on installing solar-diesel hybrid systems in indigenous communities. It has also been invited to partner an Aboriginal company in the Northern Territory.
Carey Power chief executive Daniel Tucker said the venture would also seek to build on his company Carey Mining's existing relations with clients.
New business and strategy manager Dwayne Rowland said early talks had been held with miners about supplying power to camps and other facilities. "All mining companies are currently reviewing their power consumption," Mr Rowland said.
Horizon Aboriginal engagement manager Graeme Ely said the utility and partners including Carey Power would bid for Federal funding under a program to deliver renewable energy for up to 50 indigenous communities nationally.
The joint venture was formed with the assistance of Ernst & Young. Carey Mining holds a 51 per cent stake in the business and Next Power 49 per cent. Formerly known as Unlimited Energy, Next Power has switched from residential to commercial solar business and installed systems of up to 110 kilowatts in the metropolitan area.