Title should be "Plant openings signal birth of large-scale solar in Australia, **despite political dithering and inertia**"
Great to see, and many more to come soon one hopes.
Minor niggle, there is somewhat of a disconnect between
"Australia boasts the highest rate of household solar panel installation in the world."
"Together they will produce around 360,000 MWh of renewable energy every year, which is enough to power around 50,000 homes"
Whether grid connected or not many of those homes are now easily capable of powering themselves (or at least partially so) so it might be worth thinking up another way of describing how much power is being generated ... and what else it might be used for.
Why did my government give my tax money to a private company so they could sell me the sun?
Why didn't the company get a bank loan or do a stock capital raising, like every other company has to do when they need to buy more plant/equipment?
Why are we given pointlessly useless numbers - 102MW - this plant is open now, how about telling us how many MW/h are coming out on average?
Why was this not put on everyone's roof instead? What's happening to this power when it's not used during the daytime?
What happens in 30 years - do we have to blow another half-billion to replace them?
Why is it if this is such a money making scheme did they need so much taxpayer funding ?
Commercial operations should stand on their own two feet, either they are viable or they are not
What guarantee do these panels come with ? who foots the bill when they have to be replaced, who maintains them, who keeps them clean
Fixed Solar panels even in Australia have full efficiency for only about 6 hours a day.
A nuclear plant would still be working in 100 years, not these
@christopher. There is a reason that the USA will always lead Australia in the research and development of monumental achievements. The corporate and governmental worlds in the USA are willing to have a go. I know that economies of scale come into this and that the US has the size and population to attempt some pretty monumental projects. Even so, it takes people with psyche and self-belief to give them the courage and daring to try.
Australians, generally, are great individual innovators but our governments are too risk averse (they are too concentrated on not doing anything that is perceived as wrong before the next election).
We need this sort of investment and innovation even though we know that these panels will be obsolete before they even really get going. The lessons learned from this project will hopefully lead to better and bigger solar farms (or maybe to smaller and more diverse solar farms) in the future. But lets do something rather than just sitting around discussing how difficult and expensive it is.
A question asked is why our tax is being used to fund a private company. Well do you prefer the $1.8 billion dollars of tax money being paid to the coal industry? Or the $2.2 billion going to oil and gas? What about the $1.2 billion spent on diesel subsidies? (some of these figures may include overlap, I'm not sure but the point is made I think) Why is it so bad when the government spends some on solar? Arguably the solar industry has a ... ahem ... brighter future and the technology and knowledge we gain from investing in it locally goes a long way.
Mr. Hensley Garlington
Good point, Scion.
PV seems like a strange choice for large scale electric production. Wouldn't CSP (concentrating solar power) be a more efficient way to generate power from solar? At first glance it appears that the geography of New South Wales gives it high levels of direct solar radiation and ample water.
Martin Winlow
"Plant openings signal "birth of large-scale solar in Australia"..."
About flaming time!
As for the whingers here, they probably had to get government backing because they couldn't attract investors due them all having their heads buried in the sand like you lot!
How Germany, you know - in grey and cloudy northern Europe - can be 100 times further down this road than Australia with it virtual perpetual daytime sunlight is a complete mystery. Of course the answer is political corruption. Why you all keep on voting for one crook after another is beyond me. It's just like the Italians and Berlusconi... Oh... hang on, though...! MW
Pat Pending
Anyone know what the conversion efficiency of these panels are as installed and what it's predicted to be in three years time?