Australian company Solar Systems today announced that it is going to build the biggest and most efficient solar photovoltaic power station in the world in north-west Victoria, Australia.
The power station is estimated to provide 154 MW into the national electricity grid – enough to meet the annual consumption of over 45,000 homes.
Australian Treasurer Peter Costello announced a AUS 75 million grant to the project under the AUS 500 million Federal Government’s Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund (LETDF) program, which aims to foster competitive technology that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The local Victorian Government will contribute a further AUS 50 million grant towards the expected cost of AUS 420 million for the large-scale solar power plant.
Solar Systems Managing Director Dave Holland is expecting that …the plant will make a significant contribution towards reducing Victoria’s environmental impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 400,000 tons per year…
The power station will use technology known as ‘Heliostat Concentrator Photovoltaic’ (HCPV). It will consist of fields of heliostats (sun-tracking mirrors) focusing sunlight on receivers. The receivers house photovoltaic (PV) modules, which consist of arrays of ultra high-efficiency solar cells that convert the sunlight directly into electricity. The heliostat control system, PV modules and cooling system are patented by Solar Systems.
Solar Systems has collaborated with US company Spectrolab (a Boeing company) to optimize ultra high efficiency space technology for earth based power stations. The resulting photovoltaic cell arrays are three times more efficient than typical solar panels. Solar Systems is claiming that it has reached about 35 per cent transformation efficiency and further cell efficiency improvements are underway.
The power plant is expected to start contributing electricity during 2008 and being fully operational by 2013.
With one of the worst droughts ever currently hitting Australia, that has already sent world wide wheat prices skyrocketing, the Australian government seems to feel more need to act towards reduction of CO2 emissions and global warming.
Australia is one of the countries that has signed but not ratified the Kyoto protocol.
When we were preparing this post based on news from Solar Systems, Australian government and data from other sources, it seems that quite a few people around the world were creating stories based on the same news at that time. It has hit the front pages of news papers and online magazines since then and as most of these articles provide some other opinions or information as well, we thought it would be good to provide links:
Australian Herald Sun (25-October-2006)
ABC News (25-October-2006)
Yahoo News (25-October-2006)
BBC News (25-October-2006)
Greenpeace Australia (25-October-2006)
The Australian (26-October-2006)
A reader has asked us what the drought in Australia has to do with world-wide wheat prices, well Australia is the third-biggest producer of the grain and prices have risen about 80% for the year (mid October data)
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