The Australian Capital Territory announced on Wednesday the construction of the country's largest solar power plant. Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) will build and operate a 20-megawatt facility in a 50-hectare solar farm in Tuggeranong.
ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell disclosed that the facility, to be constructed in 2014, will be made up of a generator and 83,000 photovoltaic panels.
The plant is estimated to have the power to light up 4,400 more Canberra homes and add only $13 yearly to household electricity bills. By 2020, the added cost will go down to $9.50, Mr Corbell said.
FRV, a Spanish company, won the bidding in the reverse auction process. It will construct the plant on a rural land off the Monaro Highway at Royalla. FRV has built over 350 megawatts of generation capacity in different countries.
With its planned 20-megawatt daily capacity, the ACT facility would have twice the capacity of a 10-megawatt solar project being planned by Western Australia for Perth.
Mr Corbell said the solar project would fulfill a 2008 election promise of state government officials and would avoid the release of over half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. FRV will start construction in late 2013.
He said with the planned facility to be erected on a privately leased farmland several kilometers away from residential communities, Tuggeranong residents would likely not oppose the solar farm unlike what they did to a planned gas-fired power venture in 2008.
"The ACT government is leading the way nationally, delivering the largest solar power at the lowest cost anywhere in the country and this is something that governments elsewhere will want to emulate," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted John Grimes of the Australian Solar Council.
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