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Australia 'still lagging on utility-scale solar'

16th Oct 2012

Western Australia's large-scale solar plant has received a thumbs-up from one industry commentator - but the country still has a way to go.

The ten-megawatt Greenough Slough facility near Geraldton indicates a "dramatic change" in the way Australia generates energy, Giles Parkinson of said.

The structure, a joint venture between Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services, was officially opened last week.

Not only is it emissions free, Giles stated, but it could signify the start of a process in which solar plants become cheaper than coal and gas alternatives.

However, the nation has some catching up to do if it is to compete with big players in the industry, he added.

"While this is the first utility-scale solar PV farm in Australia, and ten times bigger than the next biggest solar installation in the country, the country trails far behind Europe, North America, China and other parts of Asia in the rollout of these sorts of plants," the expert argued.

According to Parkinson, the plant would have been a world beater in terms of size if it had been constructed in 2005.

Unfortunately, as it stands, the facility doesn't even break the top 200 biggest solar farms in the world today, he said.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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