Origin starts construction of $20m solar power plant

Origin Energy has begun construction on its $20 million solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing plant in Adelaide, South Australia.

The new plant will make solar power panels to demonstrate Origin's Sliver Solar Cell technology, developed with the Australian National University's Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems.

Designed to produce up to 5MW of PV modules per year initially, the plant will be readily expandable to 25MW per year should it meet all design objectives and prove Sliver technology can be applied at a mass produced scale.

Solar PV modules incorporating the new Sliver technology are expected to be available to market by January 2005 and will be suitable for applications such as powering homes and telecommunications in grid connected and remote locations.

Origin Energy's executive general manager generation, Andrew Stock said, "This revolutionary new Sliver solar technology offers tremendous potential to expand the application of solar power because it cuts by up to 90% the expensive silicon used in conventional solar panels. The unique properties of Sliver cells will also allow a wide range of consumer and industrial products to be powered by the sun."