Clean Power

Published on August 11th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


Construction Set To Begin At Australia’s First Single-Axis Tracking Solar PV Project

August 11th, 2014 by  

Single axis tracker

Horizontal Single Axis Trackers Solar Installation

While Australia’s carbon policy seems to have hit a dead-end, good news from the renewable energy sector continues to pour in. The country will soon see construction begin on its first solar photovoltaic power project with single-axis tracking feature.

The solar pv project owned by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) will have a generation capacity of 70 MW (DC) and located at near Moree, New South Wales. The project will be supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which has provided more than A$101 million.

FRV is a global project developer in the solar energy sector. The company has presence in emerging markets like the Middle East, East Africa and Latin America with about 3 GW of capacity under development.

Since 2006, the management team has completed the construction, operation, maintenance and financing of over 450 MW of photovoltaic and CSP solar energy plants. Such projects represent more than $2 billion in total financings secured from more than 20 leading banks.

Solar PV panels equipped with tracking mechanism are usually more efficient that those without it. The tracking system tracks the movement of the sun, and thus enables solar panels to capture more direct radiation compared to the fixed tilt solar panels. Single-axis trackers can either be aligned along the horizontal or the vertical axis.

A single-axis tracking panel equipped with horizontal axis trackers would partially rotate about the horizontal axis, and track the sun’s movement through the day in the north-south direction. Panels with vertical axis tracking will track sun’s movements through the day in the east-west direction. Horizontal single-axis tracking arrangement is simpler, easy to maintain, and cheaper than vertical axis tracking arrangement.

ARENA, established as part of the Clean Energy Future policy of the Labour government, has lost favor from the current Liberal government that has spared no effort to ban it. The fact that the agency has survived the axe till now is quite miraculous. But its future continues to hang in the balance. The ARENA repeal bill was tabled in the Australian lower House of Parliament in June, and was then referred to a Senate committee which is seeking stakeholders’ views.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • Will E

    The sun is a barrel of money. millions barrels of money everyday
    you just have to catch it. clean, cheap and easy.
    The Chinese price for Solar PV dropped to 35 dollarcents a Kwh.
    In Australia you get 4 times installed capacity.
    energy production time is 35 year.
    what is the Math about that?

  • Ronald Brakels

    The solar farm will have tracking, so that effectively makes the cost per watt equal to that of rooftop solar, which is a relief as our only exisiting utility scale solar farm in Wester Australia just being embarassing with locals installing solar on their roofs at a fraction of its cost per watt. However, the economics of it still makes no sense compared to rooftop solar. Thanks to Australia’s high retail electricity prices if the money had been invested in putting solar panels on the roofs of government buildings it would give about two or three times as much return. Fortunately the government of New South Wales, which is the state where the solar farm is being built, is taking steps to do exactly that, despite having a Liberal government. (In Australia Liberal = conservative. It is down under, you know. Also, at the moment conversative = dangerous radical who doesn’t mind with causing major changes to the atmospheric composition and climate.)

  • Rob G

    I’d like to think the Senate would block any further sabotage to ARENA. This are many strong renewable supporters in the Senate and more common sense which is apparently lacking in the house (parliament). This very same senate continues to block the ‘class discrimination’ budget to the point where we’ll either have a totally new budget or an election. Given the current polls the current government would be ousted pretty swiftly.

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