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Queensland unveils solar atlas

28th Oct 2011

The Queensland government released a new electronic map this week to assist households and businesses with the switch to solar electricity.

Energy minister Stephen Robertson said the Queensland Solar Atlas was based on solar irradiance data collected at ground monitoring stations in three key locations and details the average annual solar radiation information across the state.

"The interactive map was produced using data collected over a 365 day period, along with broader satellite-derived information," Mr Robertson said.

"The information has been mapped on 5 kilometre square grids and shows average potential solar generation output in kilowatt hours per day."

The information on the interactive map is represented in colour ranges from blue to red - with red being the highest level of solar irradiance potential.

Mr Robertson believed the Queensland Solar Atlas was a key element in the state government's strategy to make the Sunshine State a solar one.

"We want to see this clean energy source incorporated into all aspects of our lives and the Solar Atlas will help deliver this goal.

"We believe harnessing the sun's power to produce clean energy and reduce greenhouse emissions is a clever, practical solution to tackling climate change."

According to the Queensland government, the state has doubled its use of solar energy in less than two years - more than three years ahead of schedule.

"Solar energy has a bright future in Queensland's renewable energy mix," Mr Robertson said.

Currently, 3.5 per cent of Queensland households access solar electricity, according to a new survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Information from the Solar Atlas states that the north-west, far north and central west regions of the state have the most potential for future solar power generation projects in Queensland.

"It may not be a total surprise that these regions have strong potential in terms of solar resources, due to the fact they experience a high proportion of mainly long, hot, sunny days," Mr Robertson said.

The Bligh government also announced this week it's Renewable Energy Industry Development Plan (REIDP) - 23 initiatives the state will undertake over the next two years to assist in the further development of Queensland’s renewable energy industry.

The REIDP defines five key policy priorities - being innovation, renewable energy zones, jobs, regulatory reform and incentives.

Mr Robertson said the development plan will help stimulate supply of clean energy for the state's communities. 

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