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Australian Renewable Energy Agency takes Solar Projects to the next step

Australia has the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world- boasting one of the best solar energy resources in the world.

How does Australia expect to capitalize on these resources?

Prime Minister Turnbull has committed $350 million towards new large-scale solar projects, in order to generate interest in the solar energy sector and push advancements in its developments.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) just announced that it would bring 22 large-scale solar photovoltaic projects to full application stage. ARENA received 77 eligible applications, selecting those with the highest merit.

The 22 EOIs are seeking $332 million for projects totaling $1.68 billion to deploy large scale solar farms in Queensland (10), New South Wales, (8), Victoria (2), South Australia (1), and Western Australia (1).

 “The projects are located in all mainland states and have a total capacity of 766 megawatts (MW). Each project was able to demonstrate its cost of energy was below the threshold of $135 per MWh, with some projecting costs significantly below this threshold level,” stated ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

 “The strong interest and high-quality applications demonstrate Australia is serious about deploying large-scale solar and capitalising on its abundant solar resources.”

Australia’s interest in developing its solar energy technology capacity is in best interest for the state, as it could reap from its solar resources in an effective and beneficial way.

As of now, Australia has not taken full advantage of the resources at hand. It has only 240 megawatts total large-scale generation capacity. With another 200 megawatts, there would be enough to power 120,000 average Australian homes.

“It is clear that large-scale solar has the potential to become one of the most competitive forms of energy in the world,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“It is also clear that, despite our significant solar advantages, Australia has some work to do to catch up to countries with more mature large-scale solar industries – our grid-connected large-scale solar capacity will shortly reach 240 MW and is generated by a only a handful of solar plants.”

The greater aim is to decrease large-scale solar costs in Australia, potentially to less than $100 per MWh by 2020.

Image from Pascal Vuylsteker- CC BY SA 2.0

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