Solar Systems, which claimed to be Australia’s leading solar energy company, has been placed into voluntary administration. Almost all of its 150 staff are being stood down pending a review to see if the business can be salvaged.

Solar Systems had received promises of $129 million from federal and state governments to build Australia’s first large scale solar power station, a $420m project near Mildura.

It also had plans for 1,000 megawatt of large-scale solar installations in Asia estimated cost of more than $3 billion. Had the company been able to go ahead with these projects, it would have become one of the top five global solar energy companies. However, it has been unable to attract the necessary finance and its major investor, the Victorian energy utility TRUenergy, has now written down its entire $53 million investment.

The administrator said that he would assess the company’s financial and operations position with a view to continuing operations on a reduced scale over the next three months to provide sufficient time to restructure and sell the business as a going concern.

Development of the Mildura power station, which was not due to begin construction for another 12 months, will be put on hold.