9.1 Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC)

The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC) is a demonstration facility for commercialised solar technologies operating in the arid solar conditions of Alice Springs, Central Australia5. Alice Springs is located on the Tropic of Capricorn with this location exhibiting an excellent solar energy resource. On average the area experiences more than 200 clear days every year and 9.6 sunshine hours per day, giving an average daily solar exposure of 22.3 MJ/m26 7, a very high figure by both Australian and world standards. The DKASC was developed by CAT (Centre for Appropriate Technology Incorporated) Projects and Desert Knowledge Australia as a resource for the rapidly expanding solar industry in Central Australia. The site is a ‘showcase’ system where 27 smaller PV systems with varying PV technology types are grouped together into a single ‘solar precinct’. A list of the different solar technologies installed at the Solar Centre can be found in Appendix C. The Solar Centre’s aim is to ‘promote understanding and confidence in solar technologies’, and provide the industry with long-term system level data proving the reliability of solar generators in an Australian context. A range of solar power technologies in a number of different configurations operate at the DKASC, including:

  • amorphous silicon
  • CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) thin-film array
  • CIGS (Copper indium gallium diselenide) thin-film array
  • concentrated PV
  • HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer) hybrid silicon array
  • monocrystalline silicon array
  • polycrystalline silicon array.