As Susan wrote back on September 1, GE Energy Financial Services, Verve Energy, and First Solar have teamed up to build a large (“utility-scale”) solar farm in Australia. The farm will be 10 times larger than any other solar farm in Australia to date. Construction on the 10-megawatt AC Greenough River Solar Farm, located 50 kilometers south of Geraldton, started on Monday.
In total, construction of the solar farm is supposed to take 9 months. The First Solar PV modules, 150,000 of them(!), are projected to be installed in March 2012.
GE and Verve Energy, a state-owned power utility for Western Australia, will each own 50% of the Greenough River Solar Farm. The project is expected to generate millions of dollar for the City of Greater Geraldton’s economy.
“First Solar aims to maximise local hiring and enable the project to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to regional communities,” said Jack Curtis, Vice President, Business Development & Sales for First Solar. “We are also building our in-country supply chain network by procuring as many materials as possible from local suppliers at all stages of the construction process.”
As reported about a month ago, Australia’s Parliament recently passed a huge, influential carbon tax. That has now been finalized (more on that from Susan shortly). Additionally, Australia’s first community-owned solar farm is supposed to begin construction shortly. I think Australia is ready to put itself on the solar and clean energy map.
First Solar seems to agree. “Developing a local capability to install utility-scale solar projects, together with stable government policy, will greatly improve the industry’s long-term outlook,” Curtis noted.
Image via Solar Choice