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Victorian government invests $10m in solar project

8th Oct 2012

The Victorian government has announced it will be committing $10 million for the next phase of development for a large-scale solar plant in the state.

It is the latest in a number of payments that have been given to Solar Systems - a manufacturing firm in charge of the project - with the total outlay set to hit $50 million.

The business has already received $5 million for the first phase of the scheme and the government revealed it will be forking out $35 million for the third and final stage.

So where is all this money going? Well, a 1.5-megawatt pilot facility consisting of 40 concentrating photovoltaic dishes is going to be built in Mildura, and Solar Systems requires funding to test its technologies.

The company is currently working on a piece of equipment that uses mirrors in a dish to track the sun, which then focuses this light towards a super-efficient receiver.

Energy and resources minister Michael O'Brien said the first phase of the initiative has been completed, with a 600-kilowatt pilot plant installed at Bridgewater.

He remarked: "The Coalition Government is supporting a range of investments in energy technology to create improved ways of providing energy to Victorian families and businesses with low or no greenhouse gas emissions.

"This funding takes Solar Systems one step closer to its planned development of a large-scale solar power plant in Mildura."

According to the politician, the facility - when finished - could provide electricity for up to 35,000 households, while creating various high-skill local jobs.

O'Brien was recently criticised by Solar Business Services founder Nigel Morris, who slammed the minister for claiming that feed-in tariff rebates were not linked to a boost in the number of people investing in solar PV systems.

Morris described O'Brien's comments on the issue as "staggeringly ignorant or deceptive".

Posted by Mike Peacock

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