Boston, MA 05/23/2014 (wallstreetpr) – First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) seeks to develop a 6.7 megawatt solar power facility in Queensland, Australia jointly with Ingenero and Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO).
The power plant development, called the Weipa Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project, will power the bauxite operations of Rio Tinto Alcan. The project seeks to power not only the mine, but also the local port and the township. The Commonwealth Government has officially confirmed that it will be funding the first phase of the project and has made a preliminary commitment of as much as $3.5 million, to be availed from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). After the initial commitment, in the second phase, the project will receive up to $7.8 million.
In the first phase of the project, 18,000 solar photovoltaic panels will be installed on the west coast of the Cape Town Peninsula, which are expected to supply 1.7 MW off grid power to these regions. The initial phase is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2014. In the second phase, Rio Tinto will buy an additional 5MW power under a 15 year long contact. The project would decline the consumption of diesel and emission of Carbon Dioxide by almost 1,600 tons per year.
Renewable Energy In Australia
This is for the first time that a mining company will be powering its operations by renewable energy in Australia. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) initiated developing the biggest utility level solar project in Australia in January this year. The project is a 250 hectare solar facility located in Nyngan, New South Wales. In addition, the company is providing procurement and engineering services for this project. It will also undertake maintenance services for five year tenure after commissioning. The project is expected to be finished by mid 2015 and aims at producing 102 MW AC of electric power for over 33,000 NSW homes.