The Australian Government will provide grant funding of $66.5 million to world-leading research to help build one of the largest solar power plants in the world in northwest New South Wales – creating jobs, strengthening industry-research partnerships and securing Australia’s clean energy future.   Announcing the Education Investment Fund (EIF) grant today, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said it will underpin the Moree Solar farm, which will power around 45,000 homes, perform cutting-edge research and accelerate the development of the solar industry in Australia.

The research will enhance the performance, resilience, profitability and social benefits of large-scale solar photo voltaic power. The ambitious project shows Australia is capable of leading the world when it comes to clean energy.  The CSIRO will lead a consortium of researchers from the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle and Hunter TAFE to conduct research at the proposed Moree Solar farm – a $925 million project led by BP Solar, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Pacific Hydro.

The Moree Solar Farm proposal is for a 150 megawatt photo voltaic power plant for outer Moree. Twice the size of any photo voltaic power plant operating in the world today, it is estimated that the project will create around 300-400 jobs during the construction phase.

The EIF funding will enable BP Solar, FRV and Pacific Hydro to work side-by-side with some of the foremost solar experts in Australia. As a result, what is learned from this project will provide a solid foundation for the development of a long-term solar industry in Australia. Preliminary research will begin this year, with completion and commissioning of the plant expected by the end of 2015