Queensland is capitalising on its national reputation as the Sunshine State by leading the Australian drive towards large-scale solar power, the Clean Energy Council has announced.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton was speaking at the inaugural Large-scale Solar Industry Forum in Brisbane, where he said that Queensland already boasted the most rooftop solar power in the country and is now shaping up as the home of large-scale solar.
“The 14 solar projects that are already under construction or will start in 2017 add up to close to $2 billion of new investment across the state, bringing with them at least 1570 direct jobs and more than 800 MW of new clean energy generating capacity” Mr Thornton said. “Just this week it was announced that a 42.5MW solar plant at Collinsville, north-west of Mackay, will start construction very soon. A combination of the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET), support from the Queensland Government, Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and billions of dollars in private investment is working to dramatically reduce the costs of the technology, which have almost halved in just the last couple of years.”
Thornton added that there are huge opportunities in Queensland and a very supportive state government. This is why the Australian renewable energy industry chose Brisbane as the city to host the first Large-scale Solar Industry Forum in 2017. The rapid growth is occurring as part of a broader economic transformation which brings with it a big opportunity to retrain people from other industries, including mining. As the Australian market gains experience in construction and operation, it's also a great time for the industry to get together to share lessons that have been learned, and work to ensure there are skilled professionals to deliver exciting projects.
Over 300 engineers and specialists in the industry arrived in Brisbane yesterday (11th May) to attend the sector’s first dedicated large-scale solar technical conference, which has sold out due to popular demand.
The technology is constantly evolving and maturing and there is a trend towards single-axis tracking, allowing more solar power to be captured over a longer period of time, as well as storage technology which will help to improve energy security and peak demand.