The Mallee Solar Park
The project in brief:
• is expected to create 200 jobs during construction and 20 permanent jobs
• is expected to annually deliver 345 gigawatt hours of clean electricity, enough power to run 60,000 homes each year
• under TRUenergy’s proposal a photovoltaic plant will most likely be built on the preferred 600ha site about 10km south of Mildura, with construction by Bovis Lend Lease in four stages between 2012 and 2015
• this project will use the latest in solar photovoltaic technology, utilising flat-plate, thin film photovoltaic panels which will be made by First Solar, a US-based company.
In September 2010 the Victorian State government made a $100 million commitment towards building the largest solar plant in Australia – The Mallee Solar Park. This 180MW solar plant, if deployed, will generate 345 GWh per year which is enough energy to power approximately 60,000 households for 20 years. As well as its energy generation capacity the Mallee Solar Park has the potential to eliminate at least 11 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its projected timeline of usage, which is equivalent to removing around 142,000 vehicles from Victorian roads.
For this project TRUenergy has partnered with US company First Solar to use their thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic technology, with Bovis Lend Lease and Element Projects on board for construction and planning approvals.
Yet while there has been funding approved at a State level, this is conditional on the project receiving funding under the Federal Solar Flagships program, to be announced early 2011. But the prospects are good, with the project one of only four photovoltaic plants shortlisted for a share of the $1.5 billion dollars of available Federal funding.
Regardless of the outcome, however, TRUenergy says it remains committed to a 2015 commencement of the plant’s operation. A detailed feasibility study is currently being conducted with support from the Solar Flagships program, and in the process has identified three preferred locations south of Mildura. Community input is being sought with consideration of the impact on flora and fauna, traffic flows, visibility and socio-economic factors before any location has been completely finalised.
The Victorian State government has set a target of 5% of the state’s energy generation being comprised of large solar plants by 2020, with an estimated 5 to 10 plants planned. The Mallee Solar Park is the first step toward making this target an achievable one. Beyond this, the project promises to generate up to 200 jobs at its construction peak, with another 20 direct full-time ongoing jobs during its operation. Industry and businesses across the state will benefit, with local jobs and regional spending likely to be shared across many industrial sectors.
Further information on the project from the proponent can be found here.