Aussie government actually shows spine for solar power

5th Aug 2013

The Australian government has actually made moves to dish out the dough and help a relatively new solar project get the funding it needs to progress to the next step.

With news like this few and far between, the $60 million project the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is funding is certainly a win for solar electricity. Under the agreement, the Moree Solar Farm will receive the funds to pay for a 56 megawatt solar photovoltaic system in New South Wales.

The system will sprawl across 350 hectares of country, and when completed, will have the capacity to deliver electricity to as many as 15,000 homes throughout the region. All told, the solar array will require 224,000 solar panels to operate at its peak ability.

The announcement comes on the crest of a wave of solar power excitement, spurred by the recent green light the government gave to a massive solar power project in the Outback.

Together, these announcements are giving some a glimmer of hope that Australia could be making its way – albeit at a crawling pace – to a greener future.

"It has been an exciting week for big solar, with this funding announcement coming hot on the heels of the 155MW funding earlier in the week," said John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council.

"The projects show that with the world’s best solar resource, large scale solar in Australia is not only viable, but is inevitable."

Gripes remain

This isn't to say that solar power manufacturers are expecting clear weather from here on out, though.

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Pacific Hydro, which are co-sponsoring the Moree Solar Farm, recently stated that although this one step means the project is closer to financial security, the government is still a menacing cloud in an otherwise sunny sky.

"Uncertainty surrounding the future of the federal renewable energy target post the upcoming federal election continues to hamper progress," Moree Solar Farms stated in a media release.

Still, many are keeping their heads up and hoping the government will continue to help fledgling solar farms find success. Adhering to the renewable energy target will not only ensure electricity is offered at an affordable price, but help remove hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere.

The Moree Solar Farm alone has the potential to remove 95,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent every year, making it a prime example of how the government can do its part to lower harmful emissions in Australia.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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