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Solar Flagships funding reopens for PV

8th Feb 2012

Applications for a solar energy grant are to reopen after Moree Solar Farm was unsuccessful at attracting private financing.

The government believes that this will offer the best possible opportunity of constructing large-scale solar photovoltaic power stations in Australia.

As a result, it is now in search of updated applications from those who initially showed an interest in the Solar Flagships Program after Moree did not meet its funding conditions.

In addition, a number of substantial changes to the original application were put forward, meaning it was fairly far removed from the proposal initially received by the government.

AGL, Infigen-Suntech and TRUenergy will all be able to change their proposals for reassessment by the Solar Flagships Council, as will Moree Solar Farm.

Minister for resources and energy Martin Ferguson explained that the move has been made to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent in the best possible way.

"That is why we have put in place a staged and gated approach to funding grants under the Solar Flagships program," he continued, adding that the government has always played a role in supporting new technologies.

In recent weeks, workers in Queensland started the construction of the first community-owned solar farm project in Hervey Bay, which includes nearly 1,600 solar panels.

Collectively, the panels will be capable of generating around 630 megawatt hours of energy per year, which is enough to provide power to approximately 100 homes.

Aside from the environmental benefits of the solar project, the local economy is also set to receive a welcome boost, as around $390,000 is expected to be invested in the surrounding area.

Estimates suggest this figure could rise by a further $180,000 of a roadworks tender is granted to a Fraser Coast business.

Mr Ferguson emphasised that the Labor government is providing a large amount of support for the development of solar energy projects and technologies throughout the country.

This is being achieved through a variety of ways, including the Renewable Energy Target, carbon pricing and $3.2 billion of direct funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

One of the main reasons that so many changes have been seen in the solar energy sector lately is because the cost of photovoltaic panels has fallen by as much as 70 per cent.

A decision resulting from the Solar Flagships Program will be made over the coming weeks, with an official announcement expected in the second quarter of the year.

Posted by Bob Dawson


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