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Three quick issues as late breaking news late on a Friday…

* Solar Thermal Project Funding Announced

* 56MW Solar PV Project Funded

* South Australia – PV Owners Targeted

Tomatoes from Sunshine

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced in-principle agreement to co-finance a major greenhouse development near Port Augusta, South Australia which will use solar-thermal technology to desalinate seawater to provide irrigation, and to heat and cool the greenhouses.

The project will develop a 20-hectare greenhouse facility which will produce over 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year for metropolitan markets across Australia.

“This is a superb example of applied solar-thermal technology, said John Grimes Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council.

“In this project we mix the desert with the sun, to create a low carbon oasis that is highly productive. And if there is one thing Australia has in spades, is desert and sunshine”.

“With Australian ingenuity and funding made available as a result of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation this will be a global demonstration project, creating sustainable food from the sun.”

The project should be completed by mid-2015.
Large scale solar coming to Australia

56MW Solar PV Project Moree Secures Funding

Today the CEFC has also announced that it will provide $60 million of senior debt finance to Moree Solar Farm for the development and construction of a 56MW solar PV power plant.

The Moree Solar Farm in NSW will use large scale single-axis tracking PV across 350 hectares. The project will power approximately 15,000 homes and see 224,000 solar PV modules deployed.

The Moree Solar Farm is sponsored by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Pacific Hydro.

“It has been an exciting week for big solar, with this funding announcement coming hot on the heels of the 155MW funding earlier in the week”, said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council.

“The projects show that with the world’s best solar resource, large scale solar in Australia is not only viable, but is inevitable”.

“As we have seen with roof top solar, the more we deploy the cheaper it becomes, and we expect similar dividends as we roll out large scale projects like this”.

“The CEFC was critical to tipping this project over the line, and we congratulate them for their critical role, as well as the project partners Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Pacific Hydro.

Solar Targeted in SA

Press reporting today announced that electricity customers are going to be targeted with a three year levy “to pay for the state’s solar scheme”.

Again we are seeing electricity customers unfairly targeted.
Ordinary people who have entered into a government scheme in good faith are being made the scape goats of poor policy design.

Instead we should be celebrating the SA ‘people’s solar power plant’. Combined the people of South Australia have created a 600MW solar power plant using private capital.

They have created thousands of jobs and seen over $1bn in private capital invested that will provide 25-plus years of community benefit.

The SA government needs to come clean on the real reasons for increasing power prices – it is the cost of the poles and wires that is driving up costs, not solar users.

What was not reported today is the benefit that the ‘people’s power plant’ will provide to the state for the next 25 years.

Household solar removes demand from expensive grid infrastructure, and savings are made that all electricity customers in SA will benefit from over the next two decades.

With the future of that state’s feed in tariff (FiT) currently under review, it is not surprising that the vested interests will be lining up do all they can to target solar in that state.

Before the FiT scheme was introduced in SA solar power was fed into the grid with no payment, a gift right to the bottom line of the electricity companies, a situation they no doubt hope for again.

Warm Regards,

John Grimes
Chief Executive
Australian Solar Council

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