Australia has switched on it’s first large scale photovoltaic solar development in Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton, Western Australia.
The 10MW farm has been developed by state-owned utility Verve Energy, GE’s Energy Financial Services division and US photovoltaics provider First Solar. It houses some 150,000 thin-film photovoltaic modules and produce enough to power to support around 3000 homes for a year, and at 50 acres is the largest in use in Australia.
The Western Australia Minister of Energy Peter Collier said, “This is only the beginning. The Western Australia community has developed a genuine appetite for renewable energy.”
Western Australia Water Corporation’s Southern Seawater Desalination Plant’s power is provided by the facility, which will avoid 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
“With this landmark project now complete, Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services are now evaluating the possibility of expanding the plant to up to 40 MW to satisfy growing demand for renewable energy,” says Jason Waters, CEO of Verve Energy.
Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent in the world, which makes it ideal for solar exploitation.
It has made a commitment to generate 20% of its power from renewables by 2020, but is still heavily dependent on coal and gas.