15 July, 2011
I will bite my tongue and NOT provide any editorial comment on the following:
Energy and Water Utilities
The Honourable Stephen Robertson
Australia's largest flat panel PV solar array up and running
Energy Minister Stephen Robertson officially opened Australia's largest flat panel photovoltaic (PV) solar array today, marking the start of a solar tour of Queensland.
Mr Robertson said the $7.75 million solar power system was providing clean energy for the St Lucia campus of The University of Queensland (UQ).
"I am pleased the Bligh Government has supported this innovative solar project by providing $1.5 million in funding," he said.
"It is the largest solar array of its type in Australia, covering four campus buildings with approximately 5000 polycrystalline silicon solar panels.
"This solar array will help UQ to reduce its carbon footprint and its reliance on the electricity grid.
"It will produce about 1750 megawatt hours of clean renewable solar energy each year and provide about five per cent of the university's peak demand power requirements.
"It will also help save an estimated 1770 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year - the equivalent of taking 335 cars off the road."
Mr Robertson said the university's solar project would also contribute to the development of future solar technologies.
"This solar power system also includes a ground-mounted, seven metre by six metre 8.4 kilowatt concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) array that tracks the sun as it moves across the sky," he said.
"The SolFocus CPV array has been donated by Brisbane company, Ingenero, and it will allow UQ researchers to undertake detailed comparisons with a different type of solar technology.
"It will deliver data that we expect to be crucial to the development of large scale commercial solar power projects in Queensland."
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the university was focussing on reducing carbon emissions and increasing its use of renewable energy.
"As well as being part of the university's functional energy infrastructure, the solar array will underpin research in diverse fields including physics, engineering, economics and sustainability," he said.
"Moreover, we will share this knowledge asset with the community by giving school students, teachers and any other interested people free access to a website showing live and historical data about UQ's solar infrastructure.
"The project is enhanced by the partnerships with industry, including a number of Queensland businesses at the forefront of renewable power."
Mr Robertson said he would be touring Queensland over coming months to engage with industry stakeholders and make some significant solar announcements.
"I want to see first-hand some of the innovative projects that are helping to create a clean energy future for Queensland," he said.
"My solar tour will also help to promote existing Bligh Government initiatives that are encouraging the take up of solar technologies by households and small businesses, such as our Solar Hot Water Rebate and Solar Bonus Scheme.
"Last year we set a target to double Queensland's use of solar energy in five years.
"What we didn't anticipate was just how quickly Queenslanders would embrace the technology and we are currently on track to hit our target three years ahead of schedule.
"The uptake represents a total of 227,000 household solar hot water systems and the equivalent of 125,000 small scale solar panel systems."
Other innovative solar projects the Bligh Government is delivering include:
* Carrara Stadium, Australia's largest solar stadium with solar roof panels capable of producing 240 kilowatts
* The world's first utility scale (44Mw) integration of solar power into a coal-fired power station at CS Energy's Kogan Creek power station
* The 250 megawatt Solar Dawn solar thermal power station planned for Chinchilla. (UQ is a research partner in this project)
* Community solar farms at Hervey Bay and Cloncurry.