Solar Systems Makes Major Investment in Australia’s Solar Future

Melbourne-based Solar Systems made a major step towards mainstream solar power last week with the announcement it will invest in two facilities: a high-tech solar manufacturing plant in Melbourne and a regional large scale R&D facility.

Solar Systems has developed high performance solar power station technology over the last 16 years and is now gearing up to install large-scale, grid-connected power stations.

Solar Systems’ new headquarters and photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing facility will have an annual capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic modules. The company says that this makes it one of the largest in the world (six times Australia’s current manufacturing capacity).

Operation of the new facility will commence in the first quarter of 2009.

“This is another major step towards affordable mainstream solar power,” said Dave Holland, Managing Director. “The $22 million [US $19.7 million] facility will be located in metropolitan Melbourne and will directly employ approximately 150 people. Instead of making traditional PV modules, the factory will produce modules specifically for Solar Systems’ solar concentrator systems. Solar Systems’ PV modules produce 1500 times more electricity per square metre than traditional PV modules.”

The modules will initially be deployed by Solar Systems in a number of power stations across Australia including the $420 million [US $377 million] North West Victorian power station announced late last year with the support of the Australian and Victorian Governments, and a number of projects in international markets.

In addition to the new manufacturing facility, a $10 million [US $8.9 million] R&D facility will be constructed near Bendigo in Victoria. The center will be used to optimize and further develop the company’s technology.

“Today’s announcements are two more important steps and demonstrate Australia’s ability to lead in research and development, commercialization and manufacturing of renewable energy technologies,” Holland said.

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