The Australian Government has announced that a consortium led by BP Solar and the "Solar Dawn" proposal by the French nuclear giant Areva have won Round One funding under the $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program. These projects are expected to be operational by December 2015.
The Solar Flagships Program aims to establish 1,000 megawatts of large-scale, grid connected solar power plants in Australia. Round One of the program provides funding support for one solar thermal project and one photovoltaic project, with a target of up to 400 megawatts of combined generation capacity across the two projects.
The BP Solar group, which includes the Australian renewable energy group Pacific Hydro and the Spanish solar giant FRV will built a 150 megawatt single-axis tracking, solar photovoltaic installation at Moree in New South Wales at a cost of $923 million. The project will receive $306 million funding from the Flagships Program and $120 million from the New South Wales government.
Although the largest solar photovoltaic power station currently in operation is only 100 megawatts, about ten others that will be larger than 150 megawatts are planned or under construction – the largest being the 2,000 megawatt Ordos Solar Project being built by First Solar in China.
The "Solar Dawn" project has been selected as the preferred solar thermal power project. The Areva consortium, which also includes CS Energy and Wind Prospect, will build a 250 megawatt solar thermal power station in Chinchilla, Queensland, with the Federal Government contributing $464 million.
The power station will be built adjacent to the Kogan Creek coal-fired power station and will be a solar/gas hybrid, with gas providing 15% of the power to extend the production range of the facility.
The facility will use compact linear fresnel mirror technology developed by Australia’s Dr David Mills. Dr Mills; company, Ausra, was bought by Areva early last year.
The plant is expected to be the fourth largest solar thermal power station in the world, behind the 354 megawatt Solar Energy Generating System in California, and two other plants in the United States that are expected to be completed in 2013.