SOLAR DEAL BRIGHTEST IN AUSTRALIA

SOLAR DEAL BRIGHTEST IN AUSTRALIA

A BRISBANE company has won a $7.75 million tender to install Australia’s largest rooftop solar power system at the University of Queensland (UQ).

Ingenero general manager Rodger Whitby says the St Lucia-based project will raise Queensland’s profile as the ‘solar state’ once it is completed in December. The deal will also result in solar research with UQ.

“UQ has been working on this for a couple of years now and it’s been a long time coming, but they held competitive tenders over the last four months and we were selected as the winner today,” he says.

“It follows from what we’ve seen at a residential level, where there’s been really excellent support for photovoltaics in Australia. Just yesterday renewable energy targets legislation was passed which gives more certainty to renewable energy certification.”

The State Government is contributing $1.5 million to the $7.75 million project and Ingenero is sourcing its panels from Chinese-based Trina Solar Pty Ltd.

Ingenero will receive around $5 million of the total contract, while 50 per cent of total solar installation costs involve sourcing panels from manufacturers like Trina.

“We have a great solar resource but we don’t have the population support in the photovoltaic manufacturing industry,” he says.

“There is the Solar Flagships Program which will be about 200 times this university project, and I hope that yields opportunities for manufacturing in Australia.”

Whitby estimates another four or five years before the cost of producing solar power is on par with costs involved with coal.

“The beauty of solar power is that it’s right there on your roof, which displaces the cost of power at your metre – it’s not just the energy cost you save, but the distribution costs as well.”

Acting Energy Minister Karen Struthers congratulated the company on its successful tender.

“The University has estimated that the panels will generate about six per cent of the university's power supply and save in the order of $6 million in electricity charges in the next 15 years,” she says.

“Further, it has been estimated that this system will save about 1750 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year - that is equivalent to taking 335 cars off the road each year.

“Our government is working to help build the state's solar industry and double Queensland's solar energy over the next five years.”

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