... So that You may be kept informed

Fed: Solar power energises outback Qld town

14 Dec 2008 12:53 PM

BRISBANE, Dec 14 AAP - Solar energy is powering a small outback town in south-west Queensland.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh on Sunday witnessed the emissions-free energy production at Australia's newest solar farm at Windorah - a Queensland first.

The $4.5 million farm's five solar dishes can create enough energy to the local grid to power about 60 homes and businesses.

In ideal conditions, such as long sunlight hours and low dust, the solar farm could generate enough electricity to supply the entire daytime needs of the town and its 100 residents.

The five 14-metre diameter dishes follow the sun as it tracks the sky to capture sunlight.

Diesel generators kick in if cloud cover persists and to maintain a continuous flow of electricity at night.

Solar energy could revolutionise the way power is produced for remote communities that are not on the national electricity grid and rely on diesel power stations feeding into small local grids, a government statement says.

The Windorah solar plant will produce around 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, reducing diesel consumption in the town by more than 100,000 litres per year.

The cutback on diesel will reduce the town's annual carbon footprint by about 300 tonnes of greenhouse gas.

The station will be officially commissioned in February next year.

AAP ahe/ldj/cdh