Country, Culture, People, Future

Pilbara Solar

Pilbara Solar co-ownership

YMAC is proud to be involved in Pilbara Solar, a large-scale renewable energy development company empowering First Nations people to be commercial partners and owners of renewable energy projects happening on Country.

Pilbara Solar has three key priorities:

  1. empowering First Nations people to develop their own renewable energy projects to an “investable” stage;
  2. setting a higher standard for the renewable energy industry for engagement and partnership with First Nations people; and
  3. increasing business confidence in a First Nations partnership model.

YMAC recognises economic independence is key to self-determination. To get a renewable energy project to an “investable stage” – where a First Nations group may achieve financing and/or attract investment partners – requires years of work, expertise and expense. Through our investment in Pilbara Solar, YMAC seeks to bridge knowledge and resource gaps to empower groups wishing to participate in the renewable energy industry.

Pilbara Solar also assists industry wishing to partner with First Nations people to develop renewable energy projects.

In February 2024, Pilbara Solar and YMAC executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The MOU describes the Shared Objectives and Mutual Obligations of YMAC and Pilbara Solar and how YMAC and Pilbara Solar will co-operate and work together.

Learn more about Pilbara Solar at pilbarasolar.com.au 

Below are some of the answers to the questions we have been asked about YMAC’s involvement in Pilbara Solar.

Pilbara Solar FAQs

Pilbara Solar is fifty per cent owned by Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), with the remaining fifty per cent owned by individual experts in renewable energy development, who are also board members of Pilbara Solar.

Pilbara Solar is itself a partnership between industry and Aboriginal people, and so it has the unique ability to “face both ways” and intimately understands the needs of both partners through the project development process.

YMAC’s involvement in Pilbara Solar specifically addresses two of its Objects as a not-for-profit Aboriginal Corporation, including:

“Object 9.   To support the self-determination, social, economic and political development and self management of its members.

Object 10.     To participate with other Aboriginal corporations in the Yamatji and Pilbara regions in projects to their mutual benefit, including acquiring land for social, cultural and / or economic benefits for the Yamatji and Pilbara People.”

The solar resource in the Pilbara region of Western Australia is recognised as one of the top three best locations in the world, in terms of intensity and duration. The Yamatji region has also been recognised as having world class wind resources, as well as significant solar opportunities. This represents significant opportunity for First Nations peoples to be project owners and become equal participants in this ‘greenfield’ industry.

YMAC has invested in and supported Pilbara Solar’s establishment because our Board of Directors recognised this once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish the highest standards for First Nations peoples’ engagement and involvement in the renewable energy industry.

Pilbara Solar develops and demonstrates working examples of First Nations ownership.  Ownership of assets supports intergenerational wealth creation, financial independence and self-determination, alongside genuine respect for Country and cultural heritage.

Pilbara Solar is fifty per cent owned by YMAC, with the remaining fifty per cent owned by individual experts in renewable energy development, who are also board members of Pilbara Solar.

While YMAC is a native title representative body (NTRB), YMAC’s involvement in Pilbara Solar specifically addresses two of its Objects as a not-for-profit Aboriginal Corporation, including:

“Object 9.   To support the self-determination, social, economic and political development and self management of its members.

Object 10.     To participate with other Aboriginal corporations in the Yamatji and Pilbara regions in projects to their mutual benefit, including acquiring land for social, cultural and / or economic benefits for the Yamatji and Pilbara People.”

As a fifty-percent owner Pilbara Solar’s constitution allows for YMAC to nominate up to three (3) people to its Board of Directors. Currently they are Mrs Doris Eaton, Mr Peter Windie, and Pilbara Solar Managing Director Kylie Chalmers (seconded from YMAC and with involvement in Pilbara Solar since before its inception in 2017, through the highly regarded report, “Evaluating the potential to export Pilbara solar resources to the proposed ASEAN grid via a subsea high voltage direct current interconnector’).

YMAC believes it is important to have First Nations peoples on the Pilbara Solar Board, so that they can – among other things – contribute critical insight into appropriate ways of working with and engagement of First Nations groups, and advise on equity ownership.

YMAC’s investment in Pilbara Solar is regularly reviewed by our Board of Directors at YMAC Board meetings.

YMAC and Pilbara Solar are finalising a Memorandum of Understanding which will be placed on the YMAC and Pilbara Solar websites.

YMAC is a public benevolent, not-for-profit organisation, that is also a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB). This means we deliver a range of services that go beyond our functions as an NTRB under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).

As YMAC is a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus income generated through these activities goes directly back to support its services to First Nations people; it is not (and cannot be) distributed to our members or Directors. Decisions on how this income is re-invested must meet the Objectives defined in YMAC’s Rule Book.

Western Australia’s renewable energy sector is very new. New projects involving multiple stakeholders (including First Nations people) take years to develop; no Pilbara Solar projects have yet been finalised, nor profits (if any) distributed to YMAC. 

YMAC’s investment in Pilbara Solar is regularly reviewed by Board of Directors.

Pilbara Solar operates independently of YMAC. Pilbara Solar does not have involvement in the conduct of YMAC’s activities, including the provision of native title legal services.

YMAC is required to and takes active steps to comply with its obligations regarding confidentiality and conflicts of interest at law (including under the Legal Profession Uniform Laws) or by agreement, and has decades of experiencing in managing these aspects.

YMAC and Pilbara Solar are finalising a Memorandum of Understanding which will be placed on the YMAC and Pilbara Solar websites.

Country is our mother, the provider and keeper of cultural belongings. Country and Culture go together. You can’t have one without the other.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians throughout Western Australia, and on whose Country we work. We acknowledge and respect their deep connection to their lands and waterways.

We honour and pay respect to Elders, and to their ancestors who survived and cared for Country.

Our offices are located on Whadjuk Country, Southern Yamatji Country, Yinggarda Country, Kariyarra Country, and Yawuru Country. We recognise the continuing culture, traditions, stories and living cultures on these lands and commit to building a brighter future together.

Disclaimer: Caution: Please be advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased people.

This will close in 15 seconds