Sunny day for First Solar

RENEWABLE energy specialist First Solar has won the module supply contract for what will be Australia’s largest solar project and will supply the Sun Metals zinc refinery.
Sunny day for First Solar Sunny day for First Solar Sunny day for First Solar Sunny day for First Solar Sunny day for First Solar

A solar farm using First Solar panels.

Noel Dyson

When completed the Sun Metals Solar Farm in north Queensland will generate 140 megawatts and use more than 1.1 million First Solar thin-film photo voltaic modules.

RCR Tomlinson will manage the engineering, procurement and construction of the project and construction is due to start in April.

The Sun Metals zinc refinery, which is part of the Korea Zinc Group, is 15km south of Townsville, Queensland.

“Large scale solar is fast becoming one of the most cost-effective sources of energy generation in Australia,” First Solar regional manager for Asia Pacific Jack Curtis said.

“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.”

Curtis said the First Solar technology had a higher energy yield than crystalline silicon technology in Australia due to its lower temperature coefficient, linear shading response and superior spectral response.

This advantage is of particular importance in hot and humid climates such as Townsville, and over the course of its operational life will result in greater energy output for Sun Metals.

Sun Metals CEO and Korea Zinc vice-president Yun Choi said the company was pleased to sponsor the landmark project for Australia.

“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,” he said.

The Sun Metals Solar Farm is expected to generate enough solar energy to displace about 248,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 66,000 cars off the road.