SAN JOSE, Calif., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) today announced the completion of Australia's largest tracking solar power plant, the 1-megawatt (MW) Uterne solar power plant in Alice Springs.
The Uterne project features more than 3,000 high-efficiency SunPower solar photovoltaic panels generating up to 50 percent more electricity than conventional solar panels. Installed on SunPower's proprietary single-axis T20 Tracker system, the solar panels are positioned to follow the sun during the day, increasing daily energy production by up to an additional 30 percent over conventional fixed-tilt installations.
Under the first utility-backed solar power purchase agreement in Australia, electricity generated will be sold to Power and Water Corp at a guaranteed price for the next 20 years.
"SunPower is delighted to have constructed Australia's largest producer of solar energy," said Bob Blakiston, SunPower managing director. "Uterne demonstrates that - just like any other fuel production plant - solar generation can be supported by a long-term power purchase agreement, setting a positive precedent for the development of similar projects in this country."
"We are proud to be among the first in Australia to use this technology on this scale, and to make the benefits of solar power available to all residents in Alice Springs," said Andrew Macrides, managing director, Power and Water Corporation Northern Territory. The Corporation is committed to increasing its environmental sustainability in line with community expectations and global scientific concern. Uterne is an example of this goal and the Corporation intends to continue its efforts with the advancement of more solar power stations in remote communities as well as renewable technologies including tidal, bio-fuels, wind and solar thermal.
As part of the Alice Solar City program, the Australian Government contributed AUD 3.3 million to the AUD 6.6 million Uterne project. Alice Solar City is one of seven cities participating in the government's AUD 94 million Solar Cities initiative. Each city is trialing a combination of technologies including solar hot water and photovoltaic technology, energy efficiency, load management, smart meters and cost-reflective pricing in large scale grid connected urban sites. Data collected from each of the trials will demonstrate how different projects can reduce energy consumption and will inform future policies.
The plant is named Uterne after an indigenous word meaning "bright, sunny day". According to the government's Bureau of Meteorology, Alice Springs averages 9.6 hours of sunshine per day. In the last 56 years, the area has averaged only 63 cloudy days per year.
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.
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SOURCE SunPower Corp.