Solar Panel for Display

At Geraldton, a full-size solar panel from the Greenough River Solar Farm will adorn the foyers of the City Council and the Midwest Development Commission.

Both organisations have been strong and vocal supporters of the solar farm project

The solar farm is the biggest in Australia. Verve Energy is a partner with GE Energy Financial Services in the GRSF joint venture. The 150,000 solar panels are being supplied, installed and commissioned by US company First Solar on a site about 50kms south east of Geraldton in the MidWest region of WA.

GRSF General Manager Hugh Webster presented the solar panel to the Mayor of Geraldton Ian Carpenter recently.

Energy Minister Peter Collier participated in the event in April 2012 to mark the installation of the first panel.

“Most panels have now been installed and commissioning in underway. Completion is scheduled for August,” Hugh said.

The solar farm, the first utility size solar farm in Australia, will be officially opened in October by Minister Collier.

Australia’s largest solar PV project reaches major construction milestone


Media release

WA Minister for Energy helps mark the commencement of panel installation

Geraldton, Western Australia, April 12, 2012 — Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power project reached a major construction milestone today as contractor and technology provider, First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), joined owners Verve Energy and GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services to mark the commencement of panel installation at the Greenough River Solar Farm. WA Energy Minister, Peter Collier, landholders, members of the Geraldton community and local contractors were present to help celebrate this achievement. 

“The demonstration of this proven technology in WA on a commercial scale should encourage the development of larger projects and reduce renewable energy costs in the medium to long term,” the Minister said.

Construction of the 10-megawatt solar farm 50km south of Geraldton began just four months ago. With above-ground electrical work completed and structural supports now installed, the next phase of construction will see local workers install approximately 150,000 First Solar PV modules. Scheduled for completion in mid-2012, the project is expected to create almost 100 jobs.

“The successful delivery of the Greenough River Solar Farm will help kick-off a long-term, sustainable market for utility-scale solar in Australia. First Solar has a strong record of successful project delivery, enhanced by working with local communities to ensure projects make a meaningful and lasting contribution,” said Jack Curtis, Vice President – Business Development & Sales, First Solar.

“When in operation, First Solar’s panels produce electricity with no water use, no waste production and no CO2 emissions,” Mr. Curtis added.

“GE Energy Financial Services sees Australia as a key growth market that will continue to need capital to fuel its expanding renewable energy industry. We hope this is the first of many such milestones in the country,” said Jason Willoughby, GE Energy Financial Services’ Australia business leader. “With our strong partners, Verve Energy and First Solar, we are pleased to help make this landmark solar project a reality.”

“The Greenough River Solar Farm is providing valuable experience for Verve Energy in the development of solar energy in WA,” said Tony Narvaez, General Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Verve Energy. “This experience will be very useful when Verve Energy pursues its aim to develop other solar farm projects in the near future.”

Western Australian state-owned power utility Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services each own 50 percent of the Greenough River Solar Farm, with the WA Government having provided A$20 million in funding, including A$10 million from the WA Royalties for Regions program. No debt has been raised to fund the project. First Solar is supplying its advanced thin film PV modules and engineering, procurement and construction services, in addition to operations and maintenance support once the solar farm is operational. 

The WA Water Corporation, which is building the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup, has committed to purchasing 100 percent of the solar farm’s output.

Newsletter 1, December 2011

Verve Energy is developing a 10MW solar farm in the Midwest in a joint venture partnership with GE Energy Financial Services, utilising thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules from First Solar.[...]

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First Solar Commences Construction on Australia’s First Utility-Scale Solar Farm

Project to support local business and boost economy

Geraldton, Western Australia, Nov. 7, 2011 — First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that construction has commenced on the 10-megawatt AC Greenough River Solar Farm, located 50km south of Geraldton. Once completed, the solar farm will be the first utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) project in Australia and will bring significant investment to the local community through a partnership with local civil contractor WBHO Civil – the company awarded the Phase 1 construction contract for the project.

The construction program is scheduled to take place over a period of approximately nine months. Following civil work, which commenced on Friday (Nov. 4), the project will progress to on-site construction of structural supports and the completion of above ground electrical works. The installation of First Solar PV modules is anticipated to begin in March 2012, with the solar farm expected to be fully operational by mid-2012.[...]

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Australia’s first utility-scale solar PV project under way in Western Australia

Funded by Verve Energy, GE Energy Financial Services and WA Government, 10-megawatt project will use First Solar PV modules

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), Verve Energy and GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services announced today that Australia’s first utility-scale solar power project is under way. Output from the 10- megawatt AC project on 80 hectares of cleared land 50km southeast of Geraldton will contribute to offsetting the energy requirements of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.

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