Australia: details emerge of 150 MW PV plant

pv magazine reported the government announcements – as part of the Australian Federal Government’s Solar Flagships program – and details of the concentrated solar power project, but now details of the 150 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic project have become clear.

To be built in the state of New South Wales, the plant will comprise 650,000 photovoltaic panels and will produce enough power for approximately 45,000 households.

Single-axis trackers will be used to optimize performance of the photovoltaic panels and the plant will cover 1,200 hectares of land. The partnership hopes to begin construction on the project in mid 2012 and should be operational by the end of 2015. It will be called the Moree Solar Farm.

The Moree region is considered ideal for utility scale photovoltaic installations as it enjoys year round sunshine, has flat plans allowing for long periods of sunshine and has a nearby substation able to cope with a facility of this size.

In a statement announcing the project, BP Solar’s Tony Stocken observed that the project will create a powerful precedent for utility scale photovoltaic generation in Australia. "The Moree Solar Farm will pace the way for more utility scale solar power production in Australia by demonstrating that this proven technology has an important role to play in helping Australia transition to a low carbon emission future."

The Spanish based FRV is the majority equity holder in the consortium and already operates close to 250 MW of installed capacity, the vast majority of which is in Spain. BP Solar will be the engineering, procurement and construction and Australian based Pacific Hydro will have a minority shareholding in the project.