First Solar, GE Energy Financial Services and Verve Energy have announced a partnership to build a 10 megawatt solar PV plant near Geraldton in Western Australian. The plant will be by far Australia’s largest with the next biggest solar array in the country being a 1.2 megawatt installation at the University of Queensland.

The State Government has committed to an off-take agreement for the new Southern Seawater desalination plant near Perth, which will be commissioned later this year.  A new 55 megawatt Mumbida wind farm, also near Geraldton, will be contracted to supply electricity, making up the equivalent of the entire energy needs of the new desalination plant.

Plans for the new 10 megawatt Greenough River solar PV installation were first announced a year ago but the project was delayed when BP Solar withdrew. BP Solar’s role is now to be taken over by the US thin-film PV specialist, First Solar.

The solar plant, originally estimated to cost $58 million is now expected to cost $50 million and to be completed in 2012.

The 22-turbine Mumbida wind farm is to be built by Verve Energy and Macquarie Capital. The total cost of the two projects is expected to be about $200 million.