First Solar, Inc. reported that the company was awarded a module supply contract to provide 140 megawatts (MW)DC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar modules for the Sun Metals Solar Farm in North Queensland, Australia. Once constructed, it will be Australia’s largest solar project utilizing more than 1,167,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules.
RCR Tomlinson Limited will handle the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction. Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2017.
In its first year of operation, the modules are expected to produce about 270,000 megawatt-hours of energy. The project will provide electricity to the Sun Metals zinc refinery, which is situated 15 kilometers south of Townsville. Sun Metals is a member of the Korea Zinc Group.
According to First Solar, its CdTe thin-film solar module technology has a higher energy yield than crystalline silicon technology in Australia because of its lower temperature coefficient, it linear shading response and superior spectral response. These advantages give the modules a higher energy yield than silicon solar cells in hot, humid, and even shady conditions.
Once completed, the project is projected to produce enough solar power to displace about 248,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. This carbon displacement is equivalent to taking nearly 66,000 cars off the road.
“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,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Regional Manager for Asia Pacific.