First Solar to Supply Modules for Phase One of Kidston Solar Project

Genex Power has ordered 63 MW of CdTe thin-film solar modules from First Solar for Phase one of the Kidston solar project in Queensland, Australia. In its first year of operation, the project is expected to produce about 145,000MWh of electricity.

The project is next to the proposed Kidston Pumped Storage Project. In an industry first, Genex Power plans to integrate solar electricity generation with a pumped hydroelectricity energy storage system. First Solar, senior manager of business development in Australia, Ewan Norton-Smith said, “The combination of solar energy with pumped-storage hydroelectricity will allow for increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid and will contribute to the stability of supply in the National Electricity Market.”

The first phase of the project will use more than 540,000 First Solar thin-film PV modules at a site located 270 kilometers northwest of Townsville in far north Queensland. First Solar boasts that its technology has a higher energy yield in hot and humid climates due to its lower temperature coefficient, and over the course of a plant’s operational life this higher energy yield will translate to significant gains in power output.

Genex Power managing director Michael Addison said, “The combination of First Solar’s thin-film modules, single-axis tracking technology and the excellent local solar resource in Queensland will give our project the highest chance of achieving a record solar capacity factor in Australia.”

The electricity from the Kidston Phase One Solar Project will be sold via a Power Purchase Agreement supported by the Queensland Government. Part of the funding for the project, $8.9 million comes from the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. GL Engineering Pty Ltd. will manage construction of the project, which is on schedule to begin in the first half of 2017.