Centre showcases solar technology

Wednesday, 22 October, 2008

The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre is expected to attract worldwide attention, publicly showcasing a broad range of large-scale working solar installations.

Another feature is its interactive website displaying real-time data fed by the 15 solar installations on display. Desert Knowledge Australia CEO John Huigen said, “The innovative website will provide real-time scientific and technical data to the solar industry, and is interactive and exciting enough to appeal to the average Australian.”

The centre features an array of silicon photovoltaics, as well as a number of groundbreaking technologies never before used in Australia, including copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) panels and cadmium telluride (CdTe) panels, where cadmium is recovered from the waste of zinc and nickel processing.

Large 17 m high concentrating photovoltaic tracking dishes, expected to be erected in early 2009, will be installed using a closed loop cooling system — an Australian technology.

Desert Knowledge Australia partnered with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), who project managed the development. CAT was also responsible for the centre’s design, using technical capabilities and learnings generated through its Bushlight program.

A range of manufacturers and suppliers have chosen to demonstrate their technologies at the site, such as BP Solar, Kyocera Solar, M&H Power, Phoenix Solar, Choice Electric, Solar Sales and Solar Systems.

Other technologies on display include large-scale tracking arrays, a solar water pump and water purification system, a variety of photovoltaic technologies and a unique ‘Solar Compass’ and ‘Forest’.

The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre is part of the Desert Knowledge Precinct — a hub for the transfer of knowledge and expertise across the arid regions of Australia.

“This centre provides an opportunity for Alice Springs to export knowledge and skills to the rest of Australia and the wider world, reversing an ongoing trend of importing skills and knowledge into remote areas,” says Mr Huigen.

“The project funding has been provided by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, through the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, and we are delighted that the Australian government is so supportive of this innovative project.

“We are also pleased at the ongoing commitment of the Northern Territory government. This significant project validates the NT government’s ongoing support and investment in Desert Knowledge and the Desert Knowledge Precinct, demonstrating that their cornerstone investment is paying off.”


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