NBN Co deploys solar arrays across network


news NBN Co has deployed solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays across its network in an effort to reduce its environmental impact.

The rollout is part of NBN Co’s plans to upgrade the entire Australian communication infrastructure to solar energy and “ensure future generations have access to high speed broadband”, according to Solgen Energy Group, the technical partner on the project.

Solgen said that 1.75 megawatts of solar capacity has now been installed across the NBN’s Satellite Earth Stations (SESs) and Technical Aggregation Node and Development (TAND) facilities, adding that it carried out a detailed analysis of the specifications in order to provide a “comprehensive end-to-end solution” for the solar PV requirements.

The clean energy specialist finally designed and installed two types of solar power installations: roof mounted solar arrays for metropolitan TAND sites and ground-mounted solar arrays for the more remote SES sites.

David Naismith, Solgen’s Executive General Manager, said working with the NBN Co to prioritise clean energy solutions sets a “good example” for others.

“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 sites. A big achievement for all involved,” Naismith said.

Solgen’s approach to the design of each solar array focused on efficiency, taking into account the proposed infrastructure and the topography at each site, he explained.

“We work closely with numerous international manufacturers of solar PV equipment allowing us the ability to design and procure the most suitable solar components to match the site constraints and achieve the best industry standards,” Naismith said.

Image credit: Solgen


  1. So apparently the environmental impact is important enough for NBNCo to act in the best interests of the Australian people, but due to politics, the actual technology chosen takes a back seat?

    I find this a bitter pill to swallow in light of the last three years…

    • What impact? I haven’t seen any impact around here at all. They’ve been promising to have an impact for ages, but the years keep going by.

      If it takes any longer the only thing we’ll need to worry about from the project is global warming – from all the hot air.

      Entire empires have risen and fallen in the time it’s taken …

    • I find this a bitter pill to swallow in light of the last three years…

      Just another facepalm moment in the disastrous GimpCo saga.

      • Much like his party’s fortunes and the Australian economy…seems there is a common theme here…

    • +1 Tinman

      @Rizz – Shhh, don’t remind them about coal.

      Though I’m sure, except in Tassie,(Hydro-electric) coal will be powering most of them tens of thousands of FTTN cabinets.

      Libfail facepalm for eviromentally friendly.

      You want to be eco friendly, put back FTTP, Dumbasses.

      Later, RIPP :)

        • Coalition don’t need no stinking science, that’s why the likes of the CSIRO & other science based institutes keep getting less funding under the coalition government.

          Betting if there was an R&D grant on offer where coal-tech vs’d solar, wind & wave tech,(3x techs able to use same money,[split]) Libs would vote for coal.

          Our sun, wind & coastal waves are free… But Libs only look to immediate, assumed bottom line cost,(FTTN LOL).

          Though I’m honestly glad Coalition may still like coal….. It keeps their tiny minds away from fucking nuclear… A clusterfuck with nuclear plants, or transportation of rods, I so never wish to see, hear, or even think of, in this country.

          As I’m sure we’d get a clusterfuck from shortcuts, well before we get the boogeyman terrorists blowing them up.

          Later, RIPP.

          • Don’t go hatin’ on nuclear, Gen 3 reactors are actually pretty safe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble-bed_reactor) and what they are using in China these days and Gen 4 (around 2030-40) solve even more issues, though the way renewable are dropping, they just can’t really compete price wise.

            People hate them because of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, but they were both early Gen 2 reactors, modern reactor design is much better (gen 3 much safer, and Gen 4 can produce their own fuel), but they can have a place (though I think solar thermal beat them all round).

          • Don’t go hatin’ on nuclear

            Agree with Tinman here. I’ve never understood Australia’s aversion to nuclear, I just assumed we would be the perfect country for it. Lots of space and not much earth quake activity to worry about like Japan. Also plenty of useless desert to bury the waste in :-)

          • Except the nuclear sites considered likely wouldn’t be way out woop-woop, but closer to a town/city/river etc..

            Then you have the problem of transportation of spent rods etc..

            You mention we have big open spaces… hmmm… maybe then we have heaps of room for solar & wind projects.

            Big waves on our coasts equals wave power a future possibility too.

            R&D on improving no-downside technology safety-wise, for the general public, to increase efficiences even more, is better than spending money on nuclear safety reports, location inspections, time spent seeking to alay public fears, court cases to prevent building the plant, costs to finally build the thing & also the future possibility that something/someone screws the pooch,(even if only on the transportation of rods side of things).

            Wikipedia has some interesting info & links currently:

            Here’s another link, though I don’t know the quality of the site,(impartiality/science-wise):

            Ps. If ever unsure of something written in wikipedia then check the references for validity, it’s why they’re listed.

            BTW., I only post the links to these 2 sites for interest sake, I’m not feeling I need these links to validate my position,(and can’t be arsed searching much at this time of early morning). The links are just there if you guys want to have more of a look around the net.

            Later, RIPP :)

          • Gen 4,(maybe have some built globally by 2030+):

            As I said :o)

            China is going hard on the Gen3’s now ( http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx )

            Anyone thinking of building a new plant would have rocks in their head not to use Gen3 designs.

            Then you have the problem of transportation of spent rods etc..

            The govt has already done deals to take other countries waste, so they don’t seem too worried about transportation and storage.

            But as I said in my OP, I think nuclear has probably missed the boat in a lot of ways (http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/infrastructure-energy-market-transformation-42893). Solar thermal (molten salt, etc), wind farms and industrial scale battery storage have all dropped in price much faster than anticipated (solar thermal by 80% in the last 6 years).

            We just need the energy companies to wake up to the fact they they need to redo their business models.

          • Hi Tinman,

            I sought to read your nuke link & base respones off it. Though I don’t much like the page design for easy extraction of information; So many walls of text.

            China is pushing hard “now” on nuclear plants because renewables aren’t as an efficient option for them,(smog is not good for solar is one simple example) & they believe with how they are growing they’ll need rediculous amounts of power in the future.

            ^ “Following the Fukushima accident, concern regarding possible river pollution and depletion during droughts (due to evaporative cooling towers) meant delays until at lest 2015 to the inland AP1000 plants which were due to start construction in 2011.”

            It also appears while Gen 3 were looked at as early as 2004, with all approval processes & then building the things, some will have only be coming online 2015/2016 and others 2017+.

            So nothing much Gen 3 in operational use it would appear.

            Most of Chinas current plants are Gen 2 based designs.

            “The govt has already done deals to take other countries waste, so they don’t seem too worried about transportation and storage.”

            I’ve heard talk of this idea, not sure it’s yet fully agreed on and active though… But it’s a dumb idea.

            Ever heard of the Liberals thinking things through properly; Selling Telstra,(not even splitting wholesale & retail arms before sale), FTTN, screwing up Medicare if they get a chance,(not caught out early in the dismantelling breaking up process) etc..

            Libs want money to throw towards surplus,(or pollie pension funds,[Future Fund.. lol]).

            Libs don’t do due dilligence… I’d never trust them in regards to hazardous materials.

            “We just need the energy companies to wake up to the fact they they need to redo their business models.”

            I think we more need a government that believes in science, seeks to look past 3 year terms, gives a shit about it’s people/nation as a whole & supports the renewable industries,(Sellers, Installers & R&D) with grants & or resources.

            Also, as I alluded to previously; Renewables are the way to go over nuclear for future builds.

            You’ve mentioned cost savings with renewables, for me that was implicit in my posts,(not required to be mentioned) but some negatives of nuclear tech I declared explicity :)

            Later, RIPP :)

          • I sought to read your nuke link & base respones off it. Though I don’t much like the page design for easy extraction of information; So many walls of text.

            True, there is a lot of info there.

            But as I said, I think nuclear missed the boat, the renewable industry is maturing (and getting cheaper) much faster than they originally thought.

            Solar plants are now undercutting coal plants price wise (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-03/solar-developers-undercut-coal-with-another-record-set-in-dubai), so the expense of a nuclear plant (which is the most expensive plant to build out of everything) just doesn’t have a valid business case.

      • Except Tasmania does not have enough water storage for hydro electric to power their state continually.
        If there was enough the Bass Straight interconnector wouldn’t be an issue.

        • Hi Gavin :)

          That’s not actually true.

          Initially basslink,(power cable) was for us to sell power to the mainland & buy a little back when mainland prices were super cheap to better then manage our water supply & make profits.

          Also as a drought backup for the future,(though we do have coal fired stations that can be turned on if ever a bad drought hits & the mainland can’t supply power).

          The business case took into account the following revenue streams:


           an increase in revenue associated with the arbitrage opportunities made possible by Basslink;

           the value of the additional yield that Hydro Tasmania expected to be able to generate as a result of improvements in its capacity to manage its water storages (i.e. reduced spill in periods of high inflows when on-island demand is not sufficient to use the available energy);

           the revenue derived from the creation and sale of additional RECs as the result of improved yield; and

           the net ‘export’ of electricity, that is, the difference between northern and southern-bound flows of electricity.

          Wikipedia has some of the above:

          The main issue I & others seemed to notice when the cable went down, was our 2nd path internet cable to the mainland, that most isps like to access in Tassie, because Telstra cable is so pricey also went offline – In short, our internet got either stuffed, congested, or seriously slowed down.

          Most isps have/had backup routes via Telstra cable, but many didn’t have sizeable enough purchases for all their customers to not be affected on Basslink internet cable going down for such a long period.

          Some isps purchased extra capacity on Telstras’ cable in advance,(not always enough though) & some tried to get Telstra to offer a fair price & caused delays in their customers internet running smoothly,(TPG Group; Internode, Iinet etc..).

          Hope this helps :)

          Later, RIPP.

  2. Probably needed to cut electricity costs somewhere, considering all those nodes using up power.

    • Nothing to do with cutting costs. They have no interest in spending money efficiently otherwise they would be building a network with a much longer useful life than the one they are building.

      It’s all about appearances. “Setting a good example” they have the hide to say!

  3. They’d need a lot less solar power if they weren’t building an active powered FTTN & HFC network!

    • Probably not. Same as I doubt Malcolm factored in the cost of “The Election That Would Not Die” taking so long either…

      • Perhaps we need to ask the bloke who “could have been commissioned to write” this complete and utter FRAUDBAND fuck up ;)

  4. I’m planning on getting a solar panel installed on my grave stone, so that I might be able to get the NBN one day!

    • I have no issue with the time it takes to get NBN.
      What I do have issue with is the time it takes for NBN to be done right.
      It is going to take a lot longer to get the right NBN for the future now that Nodes are popping up over the country.

  5. More money wasted. The cost to taxpayers of this continuing folly will be massive. Morphed into yet another public sector plaything.

    • They obviously aren’t powering nodes. You completely ignored the fact these were built around the satellite stations. It will pay itself off over time. NBN don’t get electricity for free from Australian power companies I’m sure.

      • Sure, its not like any of their ground stations are located near power (Kalgoorlie, Burke, Geraldton, …). Don’t worry they’ll have that connected anyway (can’t rely on PR stunts).

        Recovering the cost of solar is as likely as NBNCo recovering the cost of anything else; zero.

        • Sure, its not like any of their ground stations are located near power (Kalgoorlie, Burke, Geraldton, …).

          Even India is saying coal is dead….how are your Adani shares going???? :o)


          Seems NBNCo is more market savvy that you, but I’d be happy to hear why you think coal (and copper!) are the future!

          Oh, and incase you decide to pull the “Science! What would science know, it isn’t settled” card, even Fox Business says so:


          • Sadest thing is they fall for it. Zero idea, therefore unable to filter complete tosh. When was your last trip to India? What’s their energy plan?

          • Allow me Tm…

            A c/p of your (tongue-in-cheek) comment from yesterday, for Richard… who categorically said “no extra FTTN power sources would be required nor built” in fact he scoffed at the assertion…

            “So the people saying they’d need to build new “power stations” were right?!”

            Facetious, tongue-in-cheek or not, another d’oh moment for the self proclaimed smartest man in the cosmos… ROFL

          • When was your last trip to India? What’s their energy plan?

            What an odd thing to say…it’s 2016 Richard, we have this thing called “The Internet”, you don’t have to do “trips” somewhere to find out things like that anymore (unless your copper connection is really that bad?!).



            and the actual policies are here:


          • Allow me Tm…

            Cheers Rizz, I have trouble keeping up with his flip-flopping and dog whistling :o)

          • @tm realworld counts, the Internet is full of rubbish. Leftoids can’t discern the difference.

            IEA : India Energy Outlook 2015 p59

            “Overview and outlook by fuel
            The period of rapid change anticipated for the Indian energy system in the New Policies Scenario does not translate into a dramatic shift in the energy mix (Table 2.1), although there are some noticeable changes in flows through the system as a whole and in the relative weight of the different end-use sectors (Figure 2.2). Coal retains a central position in the mix, increasing its overall share in primary energy from 44% in 2013 to 49% in 2040 (bucking the global trend, where coal declines by four percentage points to 25%), and the shares of oil and gas edge slightly higher.”


            The reality, like going over past posts; is rarely kind to their position. A sheltered workshop position such as yours (& completely clueless Alex (Rizz) ) you’ll never experience it for yourself. Links to uninformed Internet bile passed as “knowledge”.

            Step off a plane in India and repeat such tosh.

          • Yes Richard, coal is doing so well they’ve cancelled 4 major new coal fired plants :o)

            Love your twisted logic man!! Keep up the great work! (Do you do children’s parties??)

          • I said: I’d be happy to hear why you think coal (and copper!) are the future!

            And you said: Sadest thing is they fall for it. Zero idea, therefore unable to filter complete tosh.

            ooookay…thanks for your views on the future of copper and coal!

          • @tm your very link gives the reason; 8 years in the planning stage (see corruption). 75% of power generation in the country is coal. 12GW of additional coal-fired capacity going ahead.

            Such is the “quality” of your article they get GW and MW confused when talking renewables.

            Like NBNCo when talking expenditure use billions, revenue millions. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Coal use GW, renewables MW.

            Don’t worry you won’t get it.

          • Right, 175Gw of renewable energy by 2020 won’t affect things at all.

            Coal imports dropping 15% year on year just proves everything is healthy in coal land, right?

            Keep your head in the sand Richard, it’s a good look for you ;o)

          • Read the report. India has ~300GW installed generation capacity including ~7GW solar, ~43GW renewable total.

            In under 4 years TM believes renewables will grow to 175GW. Delusional, I’ve a GBE teleco you might like to invest your savings into.

          • Not me, the Indian government, take it up with them if you have a problem with it (though even “your” report says they’ll add at least 360Gw of renewables in a few decades…guess you think thats “a good thing” for coal?).

          • @ Richard…

            Sorry I missed this one in amongst the rest of your out dated, backward thinking, ultra-conservative, dumb cult (yes cult – but if the boot fits ;) theorist comments…

            “the Internet is full of rubbish…”

            And you account for around 95% of that rubbish.

            You’re welcome

      • NBN don’t get electricity for free from Australian power companies I’m sure.

        No, they get it free from the sun (after a small outlay ;o))

    • The real waste is the money you pay for your copper satellite internet account to deliver your pearls of wisdom to us plebs.

      Thanks Richard! Hope you remember to write that off as a “work expense” lol ;o)

  6. Solar powered broadband, a great concept.
    Now that we have the solar part, when will they start on real broadband?

  7. If they truely cared for the environmental impact of the NBN, they’d be rolling out FTTP instead of power-hungry FTTN…

  8. Forgot to post link to actual references, sorry.

    “The average power consumption per node would be 6,709kWh per annum, NBN Co said.”
    6,709kWh x 60,000 nodes = 402,540mWh of Electricity per annum.

    And according to the emmissions report from AEMO, power stations put out ~0.8 tonnes of co2/mWh, making the NBN’s nodes alone responsible for around 322,032 tonnes of co2 each year.

    AEMO report:

    NBN stating power consumtion:

    • From the zdnet link above:

      “NBN Co has claimed that the operating cost of powering up to 60,000 nodes across Australia each year will run at a far lower cost than the up-front capital cost of rolling out fibre to the premises (FttP).”

      Nice to compare Apples to Flying-Pink-Fucking-Unicorns eh-what… lol XD

      Later, RIPP :)

  9. Replacing passive fibre with car batteries in nodes has dramatically increased the electricity needs of the NBN.

    Yet another cost of Malcolm Turnbull’s idiotic decision to use nodes.

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