WA farms for solar power

Utilities will use renewable energy generated from a solar panel installation at Greenough River Solar Farm through a public and private joint venture.

The Western Australian Water Corporation will purchase 100 per cent of the sustainable energy generated by the 10-megawatt farm to offset the requirements of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup.

As a joint venture between Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services, the Western Australian Government has committed $20 million to the project, including $10 million from the Royalties for Regions Program and the Public Utilities Office.

According to a release from Verve Energy, the two companies each own 50 per cent of the facility and no debt has been raised to fund the project.

Installation of above ground electrical works and structural elements supporting the panels has been the focus of the construction since November 2011.

Photovoltaic module (PV) manufacturer, First Solar will supply more than 150000 of its thin film PV modules to the facility.

Additionally, First Solar will supply operations and maintenance support, engineering, procurement and construction services once the solar farm is operational.

Minister for Energy, Peter Collier said the Greenough River Solar project will generate enough electricity for 3000 average homes while displacing 20000 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year.

“The 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,” Mr Collier said.

First Solar vice president business development and sales, Jack Curtis said First Solar’s panels will produce electricity with no water use, waste production or carbon dioxide emissions.

According to the WA Government, the City of Geraldton will generate millions of dollars for the local economy from the employment of local contractors as well as sourcing of products.

The solar farm 50 kilometres south of Geraldton is expected to open in July/August 2012.

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