Australia’s state governments are taking up the challenge of turning the country into a haven for solar power. The state of Victoria has committed AUD $100 million to the Mallee Solar Park, a 180-megawatt plant proposed by TRUenergy using technology from Arizona-based First Solar. Meanwhile, the state of Western Australia has committed AUD $20 million for a 10-megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant developed in partnership with BP Solar.
The moves, though small, suggest that the Australian solar market is heating up.
In April, a Siemens executive said there was “a powerful business case” for Australia to lead in solar and even sell its energy to other countries. The government of Victoria has set a goal of generating 5 percent of its electricity from solar by 2020 and is also pushing the construction of a $420 million plant being developed by Silex Systems nearby.
The developers of the proposed Victoria plant have applied for funding from the federal government’s $1.5 billion solar flagships program but the total cost of the plant was not disclosed. The funding announcements are expected early next year. TRUenergy Chief Executive Richard McIndoe said the plant, slated for completion in 2015, would use First Solar’s thin-film cadmium telluride PV technology, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Western Australia plant, which will be run by state-owned Verve Energy, would anticipate larger projects in the future, according to state Energy Minister Peter Collier. It carries a total pricetag of AUD $58 million and will be the largest grid-connected solar plant in Australia.
By. Green Energy Reporter