Loddon turns to solar

     
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As energy costs continue to skyrocket, more and more people are turning to the sun to fulfil a void in energy production.

With sun on tap in the Loddon Shire it is no surprise that the area has been chosen by

Solar Systems Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silex Systems Ltd, an ASX-listed company to investigate solar technology.

The 600-kilowatt recently installed facility near Bridgewater is a step toward a greener future.

The green, seven tonne power station is ultimately a demonstration facility that has been designed primarily for testing purposes, although it does still export electricity to the national grid.

The site is one of the largest CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) solar power stations in Australia. It has been built to support the development, field testing and operational trials of technology the company plans to roll out in large utility-scale projects in Australia and overseas.

Simply, CPV uses optics such as parabolic dishes to focus a large amount of sunlight on to a small area of ultra-high efficiency solar photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

These cells are said to be the most efficient in the world, converting sunlight into electricity at more than 40 per cent conversion efficiency today, with future improvements expected to take this to above 50 per cent over time.

The experience and data collected from the Bridgewater site will guide Silex in its plans to build a major 100mW CPV power station in Mildura which will have the capacity to power 30,000 homes. 

Construction is expected to commence in 2012 and be completed by 2015.

Silex is also looking at building more large-scale solar power stations in key offshore markets, including the US and Middle East.

It’s all part of a plan hatched under the previous Brumby Labor Government that, if realised, would see Victoria’s electricity supply from large scale-solar farms increase to 5 per cent by 2020.

The Bridgewater facility has received strong financial support from federal and state government

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