Solar Systems, an Australian concentrating PV (CPV) systems manufacture, has announced the operational start up of its Mildura solar demonstration facility in Mildura in the Australian state of Victoria.
According to Solar Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Silex Systems, the grid-connected facility represents the largest CPV solar power plant in Australia. The facility will be used to demonstrate the company’s proprietary Dense Array CPV solar conversion system.
When fully operational, the system will have a capacity of 1.5MW and will generate enough electricity to power up to 500 homes. All electricity generated by the plant will be sold to Diamond Energy after signing a power purchase agreement on 17 December 2012.
The Mildura demonstration facility and its associated product development programme has received strong financial support from the Victorian state government with a A$10 million (US$10.4 million) funding package while the Australian Federal Government has also provided additional financial support.
As part of the next phase of the project, the company will expand the facility to 100MW with construction expected to commence in late 2014 though this is subject to the successful operation of the demonstration site.
Silex CEO Dr Michael Goldsworthy said: “The commencement of operations at our Mildura demonstration facility is a significant milestone in the commercialisation of Solar Systems’ unique Dense Array CPV technology. The first array consisting of 10 dish systems has been successfully commissioned and is operational, with the remaining three arrays of 30 dishes to be brought online progressively over the next few weeks.
“We are very excited about the commercial prospects for this technology, which will potentially provide very low cost electricity from large utility-scale solar power station projects planned for deployment around the world.”
Solar Systems is also building another CPV demonstration facility at the Nofa Equestrian Resort near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 1MW plant is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year and will represent the first offshore demonstration facility using Solar Systems’ Dense Array CPV dish technology.