White Cliffs Solar Power Station

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White Cliffs Solar Power Station
White Cliffs solar plant.jpg
CountryAustralia
LocationWhite Cliffs
StatusDecommissioned
Construction began1980
Commission date1982
Decommission dateDecember 2004
Construction costAU$1,900,000
Solar field
TypeCSP
CSP technologyDish stirling
Collectors14
Total collector area280m²

White Cliffs Solar Power Station was Australia's first solar power station. It is located at White Cliffs, New South Wales, which was chosen as it has the highest insolation in New South Wales, and in 1981 when the station was constructed had no grid connection.

Constructed by a team from Australian National University, the station consisted of fourteen five-metre parabolic dishes, each covered by more than 2000 mirrors and mounted on a heliostatic mounting. The dishes each focussed the sun's rays on a collector, where water was boiled. The resulting steam drove a three-cylinder Uniflow steam engine, made by modifying a Lister diesel engine, delivering up to 25kWe. Batteries were used to provide 24-hour power to selected buildings in the township, and an existing diesel generator retained to provide battery charging when either low insolation or strong winds prevented use of the solar station for extended periods.[1]

In 1996, following grid connection of the township, the station was converted to photovoltaic.[2] The dishes were resurfaced, and the original collectors each replaced by a cluster of 16 water-cooled photovoltaic cells. In its new form, the station delivers up to 45kWe. The batteries, and diesel generator were removed, and the output fed into the grid.

The grid connected power station ran for around 6 years, generating valuable data on the long-term performance and efficiency of the modules. The power station ceased operation in December 2004 and has been resumed by the owner of the site.[3]

In 2006 Engineers Australia placed an heritage marker recognising the engineering significance of what is arguably considered the world's first commercial solar power station.[4][5]

In 2012 it was proposed the site be used as a museum.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Historic Australian Solar Farm To Become A Museum". Renewable Energy News. 25 December 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  2. ^ Michelmore, Karen (13 January 2017). "Revisiting Australia's ground-breaking first commercial solar power plant at White Cliffs". abc.net.au. Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  3. ^ "White Cliffs Case Study" (PDF). The grid connected power station ran for around 6 years, generating valuable dataon the long-term performance and efficiency of the modules. ANU. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  4. ^ Schulzer, Andrea (20 October 2006). "Solar expert visits hometown". Barrier Miner. Broken Hill NSW. It is 25 years since the construction of the experimental White Cliffs Solar Power Station. In honour of its engineering significance, a historic marker was unveiled last week by the national president of the Institution of Engineers, Mr Peter Cockbain.
  5. ^ "White Cliffs Solar Power Station, 1981-2005". engineersaustralia.org.au. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Solar power station to be turned into museum". ABC. 20 December 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°51′20″S 143°05′19.4″E / 30.85556°S 143.088722°E / -30.85556; 143.088722