Next campaign events + fact sheet

3 11 2009

nov16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 solar systems fact sheet

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    • The building of the first large-scale solar power plant in Australia is in doubt after its owner, Solar Systems, declared that due to lack of private investment, the company faces collapse.
    • Over 100 Solar Systems workers have already been made redundant. They are owed $4 million in entitlements.
    • A new production line (near completion) capable of producing hundreds of solar receivers per week, has been installed in the $23 million Abbotsford factory. Each receiver is capable of powering 30 – 50 homes.
    • Solar Systems had the contract to build the Mildura power plant. Construction would have provided around 950 green jobs and there would have been around 50 permanent green jobs running the plant. In addition, thousands of extra jobs would be reinforced in a wide variety of component making fields.
    • The Mildura solar power plant would have powered 45,000 homes (the entire Mildura region) and saved 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year. Siting the power station near where power is used would reduce transmission loss of 15% from the Latrobe Valley to Northern Victoria. Solar power has the benefit of peak power on hot sunny days, which coincides with high electricity demand. Storage solutions using hydrogen are being developed for night time power.
    • No other company in Australia has the new solar technological capacity to build the Mildura plant if Solar Systems doesn’t. Solar Systems is the world leader in concentrated photo-voltaic solar power. Its photovoltaic solar receivers are 36% efficient compared with 15% efficiency on standard household solar panels, with this efficiency had been increasing by about one percent each year.
    • $125 million was pledged to the project both from the federal government and the state government. Only $500,000 has been delivered to Solar Systems. The first milestone of the project—to build a 140-kilowatt demonstration field—was achieved on time in October last year. The rest of the funds are tied to milestones when the power station ramps up to full output in 2011 and 2013. The whole project was expected to cost roughly $420 million
    • The 3 other proposed solar projects planned for Australia are based on the same funding model, of private sector run with around one third government funding, these could easily face simlar funding problems. The Solar Systems Mildura project is by far the most advanced proposal to date. If not this project, and this factory, then when and where will the first large scale solar power plant be built in Australia?
    • Solar Systems has built functioning power systems in three remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Together they save 420,000 litres of diesel and 1550 tonnes of greenhouse emissions each year. They have also removed the need for daily journeys to buy diesel in some of the most disadvantaged communites in Australia. The future of these plants is in doubt if Solar Systems is liquidated.
    • What is the campaign demanding? We demand that the government immediately intervenes to guarantee (i) that the Solar Systems factory in Abbotsford remains open, (ii) that the redundant workers are reinstated and, (iii) that a large scale solar power plant is built in Mildura.
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