Bridgewater solar plant commences operations

Posted on March 22, 2012 by

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March 21 press release from Silex:

Solar Systems Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silex Systems Ltd (ASX:SLX), has announced that it has commenced operation of Australia’s largest Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) Solar Power Station in Bridgewater, central Victoria. The 500 kilowatt grid-connected facility will be used for the demonstration and testing of Solar Systems’ proprietary ‘Dense Array’ CPV solar conversion system.

(… ) Solar Systems is also constructing a larger CPV Solar Power Station in Mildura, north-west Victoria. The company expects to build additional large-scale solar power stations in key offshore markets, including the USA and the Middle East, where potential opportunities are currently under evaluation.

Full statement available here.

Solar Systems CPV array

An earlier Solar Systems array (image from Solar Systems)

RenewEconomy had the following to say:

Silex Systems has begun production at its unique concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power station in Bridgewater, some 20 years after the technology was first conceived and two years after the company bought the rights to the technology from the failed Solar Systems.

The 500kW pilot plant in Bridgewater is the first of its kind in Australia, and features eight dish systems in a so-called “dense array” that achieves conversion efficiency from its cells of more than 40 per cent – more than double some of the best silicon-based conventional cells in commercial production around the world.

The Bridgewater plant will serve as a testing facility as the company works on a 2MW demonstration plant in Mildura – the forerunner to a 102MW plant to be built in coming years and commissioned by 2015 – and negotiates contracts for demonstration plants in the Middle East and in southern California. Announcements on these are expected soon.

Although smaller arrays or previous versions of the technology have been operating in the Northern Territory and elsewhere, Silex CEO Michael Goldsworthy says the opening of Bridgewater is a significant event, as it likely signals one of the best opportunities Australia has to develop and retain production and manufacture of an indigenous solar technology – unlike so many others which had to be sold to overseas groups to get development.

The company manufacturers its receiver and module components at its factory in Melbourne, which has a capacity of 100MW a year, but can be upgraded to 500MW if the demand is there.

Read the full article here.