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First Solar Tapped for Kidston Phase One Solar Project in Australia

February 17, 2017

First Solar, a solar power products manufacturer based in Arizona, is supplying 63 megawatts (MW) of advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules for the Kidston Phase One Solar Project in Queensland, Australia.

The project will produce approximately 145,000 MW-hours of electricity in its first year of operation.

Ewan Norton-Smith, First Solar’s senior manager for business development in Australia, said the project is an excellent example of the potential of large-scale solar application and industry best practice as Australia continues to diversify its renewable energy portfolio.

“The combination of solar energy with pumped-storage hydroelectricity will allow for increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid and will contribute to the stability of supply in the National Electricity Market. Genex Power is at the forefront of this emerging industry, and with several compelling Australian projects on the horizon, we’re proud to be supporting phase one of the project,” added Norton-Smith.

The project is located next to the proposed Kidston Pumped Storage Project and in an industry first, Genex Power will seek to integrate solar generation with a pumped hydroelectricity energy storage system. 

Situated 270 kilometers north-west of Townsville in far north Queensland, the first phase of the project will use more than 540,000 First Solar thin-film PV modules.

First Solar technology has a higher energy yield in hot and humid climates due to its lower temperature coefficient and over the course of a plant’s operational life will translate to substantial gains in power output.

First Solar modules have been used in more large-scale projects in Australia than any other PV manufacturer, and this project further cements First Solar’s position as the country’s leading PV technology supplier to the large-scale solar sector.

“Genex Power is pleased to confirm the appointment of First Solar as its PV module supplier for the Kidston Solar Project. First Solar has an excellent track record of delivering large-scale solar projects in Australia with their world-leading thin-film PV technology, and the company is a welcome addition to the strong delivery team Genex Power has assembled for this exciting project,” said Michael Addison, Genex Power’s Managing Director.

“The combination of First Solar’s thin-film modules, single-axis tracking technology and the excellent local solar resource in Queensland will give our project the highest chance of achieving a record solar capacity factor in Australia.”

The electricity from the Kidston Phase One Solar Project will be sold via a Power Purchase Agreement supported by the Queensland Government.

The project is also supported by $8.9 million of Commonwealth Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Construction of the project will be managed by UGL Engineering Pty Ltd. and is on schedule to commence in the first half of 2017.

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