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Solar studies announced in Queensland

22nd Feb 2013

Some interesting solar-centric research is about to take place in Collinsville, Queensland.

The Australian government is investing through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency's (ARENA) Emerging Renewables program, in a feasibility study.

The study will investigate what exactly is involved in converting Collinsville Power Station into a hybrid gas/solar thermal plant.

The power production company, RATCH-Australia, initiated the study which the government is contributing $2.5 million towards. The total cost of the study amounts to $5.6 million.

So where exactly is this $5.6 million going? Well, Collinsville Power Station is currently a 180 MW coal-fired plant. This study will investigate how feasible converting it into a 30 MW hybrid solar thermal/gas power station is.

Converting to at least some solar energy is better than none at all. Knowledge gathered from the study will provide insights into the technical implementation of a conversion to solar, the costs involved, as well as other feasibility issues.

Converting an existing plant to solar power is hoped to save costs compared to the price of building whole new solar plants from scratch.

RATCH hopes it will inspire other generators to assess the possibility for their own companies.

Martin Ferguson, the minister for resources and energy,has also announced three further solar research projects relating to levels of community awareness of solar power systems and installations and community-owned solar projects.

The Australian government has made a $17 billion commitment to the development and organisation of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels.

It has been a big year for solar developments in Australia, as it was announced in January that Belectric, a German solar energy company, is planning for a 5 MW solar power plant in Mildura, Victoria.

Belectric is a world leader in ground-mounted solar power plants and roof-mounted photovoltaic systems.

2013 is already shaping up to be huge for solar energy.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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