First Solar awarded module supply contract for Australia’s biggest solar project
In what will be Australia’s largest ever solar project once finished, US-based First Solar, Inc. has been awarded the module supply contract for Australia’s 140 megawatt Sun Metals Solar Farm.
The farm, located near Townsville in North Queensland, will utilise over 1,167,000 thin-film photovoltaic modules – produced by First Solar – and will create 270,000 megawatt-hours of energy in its first year alone.
The Sun Metals zinc refinery, a global giant in metal processing technology, will benefit from the electricity generated. It is a part of the Korea Zinc Group and the Sun Metals Solar Farm is set to power the refinery.
The project will have a huge environmental impact for Australia; the farm should generate enough solar energy to displace around 248,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Put simply, it would take 66,000 cars to create such a level of pollution, and that solar energy is the equivalent of removing them from the road.
Construction is set to commence in April this year, with RCR Tomlinson Ltd managing the EPC processes.
Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Regional Manager for Asia Pacific, said: “Large-scale solar is fast becoming one of the most cost-effective sources of energy generation in Australia. This project represents the viability of the commercial and industrial solar market in Australia and the growing trend of major energy consumers owning and operating renewable energy assets.
“The performance and reliability advantages inherent to First Solar’s technology in Australia are well known and we’re pleased to support this historic project.”
Sun Metals’ CEO and Vice President Korea Zinc, Yun Choi, added: “Sun Metals is pleased to sponsor this landmark project for Australia and we recognise the importance of quality and performance in every choice we have made for the delivery of the project. There is significant value in partnering with trusted and reliable partners like First Solar. The development and realisation of the project will benefit from First Solar’s broad capabilities and market experience in addition to their industry leading technology.”
Read the January 2017 issue of Energy Digital magazine
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.