A $66.5 million grant was announced for Moree Solar Farm last week to go towards research and development in relation to the massive clean power generator.
Moree Solar Farm was a winner in round 1 of the Solar Flagships program, receiving a commitment of over $300 million in government funding to go towards the $923 million project. The latest grant is under another initiative, the Education Investment Fund (EIF).
Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the funding will not only benefit the project, but also accelerate the development of Australia’s solar industry.
“The research will enhance the performance, resilience, profitability and social benefits of large-scale solar photovoltaic power. The ambitious project shows Australia is capable of leading the world when it comes to clean energy.”
Moree Solar Farm spokesman Tony Stocken said what is learned from the research project will provide a solid base for the evolution of a long-term solar industry in Australia.
The research will be lead by CSIRO, working with researchers from the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle and Hunter TAFE
Moree Solar Farm will consist of approximately 650,000 solar panels and produce enough solar electricity to power around 45,000 households. The plant will avoid 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. At 150MW capacity, Moree Solar Farm will be larger than any PV based solar farm in existence today. The farm will occupy an area of over 1200 hectares, equivalent to 1500 soccer pitches.
Preliminary research is expected to being this year. Construction is scheduled to commence in mid 2012 and over the 4 years the facility will be built, hundreds of jobs will be created – technicians, engineers, electricians, welders and site maintenance staff will be required during the construction phase and site managers, security staff, maintenance and administration personnel will be needed post construction.