Solar, Utility Scale

Australia Takes First Steps Into Utility-scale Solar

Australia is taking its first leap into utility-scale solar PV with a 10-megawatt (MW) AC project located in Western Australia – 10 times larger than any operating project in the country.

The Greenough River Solar Farm will sit on more than 190 acres of land and work to offset power requirements of the nearby Southern Seawater Desalination Plant, which has purchased 100 percent of its output in a 15-year contract.

GE Financial Services and Western Australia (WA) state-owned utility Verve Energy will each own 50 percent of the farm. The WA government also provided $21.3 million for the project, with $10 million from the WA Royalties for Regions program. First Solar will provide the panels, and the project is expected to create more than 50 construction jobs.

“This announcement demonstrates the significant potential for renewable energy generation – especially utility-scale solar – in WA and throughout Australia,” said Jim Brown of First Solar in a press release.

The project will contribute to Australia’s goal of 20 percent renewables by 2020, and is expected to be fully operational mid-2012.