Clean Power

Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by Nicholas Brown


First Solar To Construct 200 MW Of PV Power Plants For Australian Mines

April 3rd, 2014 by  

Originally published on Kompulsa.

Rooftop solar panels in Indooroopilly, Brisbane, Australia.
Image Credit: Micheal Axelsen via Flickr.

First Solar has announced that it intends to construct a set of solar power plants amounting to 200 MW in Australia, to provide mines with power.

These plants, assisted by diesel-fueled generators, are expected to reduce the electricity cost of mining firms in Australia and shield them from rising electricity prices. This came at a much-needed time, as profitability of the mining operations has been decreasing.

“In an environment where profitability isn’t what it used to be, with the mining industry focused on cost control, the electricity that powers the mines is becoming a bigger line item, and the ability to put a dent in that and hedge against fuel price volatility is something that solar offers,” said Jack Curtis, VP of business development for First Solar in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr. Curtis also noted that project announcements in this sector were close. Construction of these power plants will take place over the next three years.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Will E

    First. It is not the Prime minister, it is the people that voted for him.
    Second. My plan is for the well being of all Australians. I love Australia.

  • Will E

    Australia is 7,617,930 Km2 big
    and sun is everywhere believe me.
    Australia covered with Solar panels?
    1 Km2 is 1 million m2, blasted away buy the sun.
    1 Kw Solar panel installed produces in Australia 4 kWh average.
    What is the price of Solar Panel in Australia
    Who does the Math for me?

    I think enough clean cheap Solar electricity can be produced to desalinate seawater
    and flood the Australian inland with freshwater to sink seawater levels worldwide.
    Shut down the coal mines.

    • Miles

      That’s would be a great idea. Also the idea to have the country surrounded by Wind turbines could power the entire country. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister is too stupid & backwards thinking to support this technology.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Before subsidy rooftop solar averages about $2.50 US per installed watt. And if you put it at a good angle most Australians can get about 5 kilowatt-hours a day from one kilowatt of solar PV, but 4 kilowatt-hours is a good back of the envelope figure seeing as our rooftop solar varies in orientation. It is the cheapest source of electricity available to Australian households:

      And basically we only have rooftop solar. We have next to no utility scale solar as point of use solar gives much better return and our power companies aren’t particularly interested in building utility scale solar farms.

      Australia’s temporary inland sea that forms when there’s enough rain evaporates pretty quickly. If you want to reduce sea levels it would be better to pump water inland on Antartica.

  • Will E

    construct more Solar Power And shut down the mines.
    crazy, they need cheap Solar Power to dig expensive coal power.
    do they think people are stupid.
    Sun is everywhere, When I visited Australia, I was blown away buy the Sun.
    wherever I went.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Australia does mine things other than coal. Coal for domestic electricity production is always located near a power plant (South Australia being the only real exception) but some coal mines for export could end up solar powered. This may seem strange, but solar PV is a lot cheaper than diesel. The power of money will compel mining companies to install solar, although I’m sure some board members will not like it. I think up until now they’ve been willing to pay extra for diesel rather than use solar PV but the profit opportunities have grown too large and they will put down their crucifixes and garlic and embrace solar. They won’t embrace the fact that coal use needs to end, but at least it’s a step.

  • Ronald Brakels

    We have off grid mines in Australia supplementing their diesel generators with wind and solar, but surprisingly few. It’s almost as if our mining company boards are almost entirely populated by hidebound old men who are wedded to an outmoded idea that only fossil fuels are suitable for meeting power needs. But the power of money will soon turn things around. And if we could get this thing other countries have on diesel called a tax that would help too.

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