Australia’s first utility-scale PV project given the go ahead

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Following approval, First Solar will deliver over 150,000 of its thin film photovoltaic modules to the Greenough River Solar Farm, in addition to providing engineering, procurement and construction services, and operations and maintenance support.

Expected to be operational by the middle of next year, the project should create over 50 construction jobs.

When complete, the solar farm will cover 80 hectares of cleared land, 50 kilometers south east of Geraldton. The energy generated will be used to offset the energy requirements of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant, which is currently being built by WA Water Corporation.

WA Water Corporation will also reportedly purchase all of the system’s output under a 15 year contract.

According to a statement released, power utility Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services will each own 50 percent of the project. It has been said the WA Government is providing AUD$20 million, including AUD$10 million from the WA Royalties for Regions program.

"This announcement demonstrates the significant potential for renewable energy generation – especially utility-scale solar in WA and throughout Australia," said Jim Brown, president of Utility Systems Business Group for First Solar, effective September 1.