11 April 2012

Installation of First Solar CdTe panels begins on Australia’s largest PV project

Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power project has reached a construction milestone as contractor and cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV panel provider First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has joined owners Verve Energy of Geraldton, Western Australia and GE unit GE Energy Financial Services of Stamford, CT, USA to mark the start of panel installation at the Greenough River Solar Farm in a ceremony attended by Western Australia’s Energy Minister Peter Collier, landholders, members of the Geraldton community and local contractors.

Western Australian state-owned power utility Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services each own 50% of the Greenough River Solar Farm, with the WA Government having provided A$20m in funding, including A$10m from the WA Royalties for Regions program.

Construction of the 10MW solar farm 50km south of Geraldton began just four months ago. With above-ground electrical work completed and structural supports now installed, the next phase of construction will see local workers install about 150,000 First Solar thin-film PV modules. First Solar is also supplying engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, in addition to operations and maintenance support once the solar farm is operational. Scheduled for completion in mid-2012, the project is expected to create almost 100 jobs. The WA Water Corporation, which is building the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup, has committed to purchasing 100% of the solar farm’s output.

“Demonstration of this proven technology in WA on a commercial scale should encourage the development of larger projects and reduce renewable energy costs in the medium to long term,” the Minister commented at the ceremony.

“The successful delivery of the Greenough River Solar Farm will help kick-off a long-term, sustainable market for utility-scale solar in Australia,” reckons Jack Curtis, First Solar’s VP - business development & sales. “First Solar has a strong record of successful project delivery, enhanced by working with local communities to ensure projects make a meaningful and lasting contribution,” he claims.

“GE Energy Financial Services sees Australia as a key growth market that will continue to need capital to fuel its expanding renewable energy industry,” says Jason Willoughby, GE Energy Financial Services' Australia business leader. “We hope this is the first of many such milestones in the country,” he adds.

“The Greenough River Solar Farm is providing valuable experience for Verve Energy in the development of solar energy in WA,” says Tony Narvaez, Verve Energy’s general manager, strategy & business development. “This experience will be very useful when Verve Energy pursues its aim to develop other solar farm projects in the near future.”

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

Visit: www.verveenergy.com.au

Visit: www.geenergyfinancialservices.com

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