Construction is now underway on Origin Energy’s $20 million (US$14.8 million) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, which will manufacture solar power panels to demonstrate the company’s Sliver Solar Cell technology. The new plant was developed with the Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems.Sydney, Australia – December 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Construction is now underway on Origin Energy’s $20 million (US$14.8 million) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, which will manufacture solar power panels to demonstrate the company’s Sliver Solar Cell technology. The new plant was developed with the Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. According to Origin Energy, the plant, which is designed to produce up to 5MW of PV modules per year initially, will be readily expandable to 25MW per year should it meet all design objectives and prove Sliver technology can be applied at a mass produced scale. The company reported the plant would use specially developed automated module assembly techniques in the manufacturing process. Solar PV modules incorporating the new Sliver technology are expected to be available to market by January 2005. The first Sliver modules are being designed to suit applications, such as powering homes and telecommunications in grid connected and remote locations. “This revolutionary new Sliver solar technology offers tremendous potential to expand the application of solar power, because it cuts by up to 90 percent the expensive silicon used in conventional solar panels,” said Origin Energy Executive General Manager, Generation and SEA Gas Director, Andrew Stock. “The unique properties of Sliver cells will also allow a wide range of consumer and industrial products to be powered by the sun.” According to Origin Energy, the new plant will create around 30 highly skilled jobs initially for people with specialist knowledge in advanced physical and chemical sciences, and manufacturing; and these numbers could grow significantly as production is expanded to meet potential export markets. “We chose to demonstrate this technology in South Australia because of the stateýs advanced manufacturing and technology base, specialty glass manufacturing which already supplies the worldýs solar power industry, and the highest per capita consumer uptake of grid connected solar power in Australia,” Stock said. In 2004, Origin Energy will be seeking global technology and marketing partners to develop the full application potential of the unique Sliver cell characteristics. An AUD$1 million (US$739,000) grant from the Australian Government, through the Australian Greenhouse Office, contributed to the project.