Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station
|Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station|
The 1.5 MW demonstration facility completed in 2013
|Nameplate capacity||1.5 MW (installed)
100 MW (max. planned)
The Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station is a proposed 100MW photovoltaic (PV) heliostat solar concentrator power station to be built at Carwarp, near Mildura, Victoria, Australia. A 1.5MW demonstration plant has been commissioned in April 2013, and construction is expected to commence in 2014 and be completed in 2017.
The project was abandoned by Silex in August 2014, due to lack of commitment to clean energy by the Australian government and the uncertainty of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in Australia due to the leadership of Tony Abbott, who wants to remove the target. This decision has been extensively criticised, with the Climate Institute stating that "Australia risks being left behind the rest of the world" if it abolishes the RET.
The project to build a 154MW solar plant was announced in 2006 and expected to be completed in 2013. However it was delayed when Solar Systems went into administration as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis.
The "CS500" dish concentrator PV unit design has 112 curved reflecting mirrors, which track the sun throughout the day. The combination of mirror profile, mounting framework, and solar receiver will deliver concentrated solar energy to each PV module. The tracking mechanism allows electricity to be produced during the day whenever the sun is more than 5° above the horizon. Direct current electricity from the receivers is passed through an electronic inverter that produces grid-quality alternating current. Transformers step up the voltage to the requirement of the local network at the point of connection. Advantages claimed for this design include:
- "The CS500 dish has a longer effective operating life than traditional PV. Because the receiver is only a small area of PV (a 35 kW CS500 dish has a PV area of 0.23m² whereas 35 kW of traditional flat plate would use approximately 350m²) maintenance is simple, quick and affordable. The modules include a specially designed filter that removes harmful UV radiation that reduces the operating efficiency and life of traditional PV technology. The modules are also cooled, which increases their effective operating life and their efficiency".
- "The CS500 dish costs significantly less (per installed watt) than traditional PV technology. This is despite the fact that the CS500 is new and still near the top of its cost curve. Advances in technology, maturity and volume production will further increase the gap".
- "The CS500 produces more electricity (per installed watt) than fixed flatplate PV technology - by up to 30%. This is because it tracks the sun and operates at lower temperatures".
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