On 11 December 2009, the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP opened the Solar Flagships Program for Proposals.
Solar Flagships Program Project selection is to occur over two selection rounds. The first selection round (Round 1) will be held in 2010 and is to select one solar thermal and one photovoltaic project, with a target of 400 MW of combined generation capacity across both projects. The Solar Flagships Program second selection round (Round 2) is planned to be held in 2013-14, following a review of the outcome of Round 1.
The Australian Government has committed funding of $1.5 billion to the Solar Flagships Program. This funding consists of:
- $1.3 billion of Solar Flagships Program funds; and
- $200 million of EIF funds.
This funding will be used to support the construction and demonstration of up to four large-scale solar power stations in Australia, using solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) technologies.
Solar Flagships Program Objectives
The primary objective of the Solar Flagships Program is to provide the foundation for large-scale, grid connected, solar power to play a significant role in Australia’s electricity supply and to operate within a competitive electricity market, with the aim of up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity.
Other objectives of the Solar Flagships Program are to: develop a solar industry in Australia, encourage regional development, provide research infrastructure, develop Australian intellectual property (IP) in solar power generation and develop and share technical and economic knowledge from the Solar Flagships Program.
Solar Flagships Program Applicant Eligibility Criteria
- An applicant must complete and lodge a Solar Flagships Program Proposal Form with the Department by the specified closing date.
- An applicant must demonstrate that the nominated research partner is an EIF Research Institution as defined by the Specification of Higher Education Institutions, Research Institutions and Vocational Education and Training Providers No. 2 of 2009.
- An applicant must provide evidence that the applicant’s project is endorsed by the state or territory governments governing the jurisdictions in which it is proposed to be built.
- An applicant must be a non-tax exempt company incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001, or a wholly or majority owned Commonwealth or state government body.
- An applicant must not be insolvent, bankrupt, in liquidation or under administration or receivership.
- An applicant must be able to demonstrate access to, or right to the beneficial use of, any intellectual property necessary to carry out the project.
- An applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have sought funding at a ratio of at least two dollars from private, state or territory government funding sources for every dollar of funding from the Solar Flagships Program and have exhausted private, state or territory government sources.
- Applicants must not have had a judicial decision relating to employee entitlements made against it (not including decisions under appeal) and not have paid the claim.
- Applicants must not have been named as an organisation that has not complied with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999.
Solar Flagships Program Project Eligibility
- A project must have a net solar electricity generation capacity of at least 150 MW
- A project must undertake project development in stages of no less than 30 MW of net electricity generation capacity
- A project must use an eligible solar technology, either photovoltaic or solar thermal:
- A project must provide evidence that the technology to be used in the project; has been demonstrated in operation at a scale of at least 30 MW generation capacity for 12 months; or is a replicable module that has been demonstrated in operation for at least 12 months and the applicant has proposed scale up plans that are supported by financial and construction firms.
- A project must use only solar energy or eligible supplementary energy sources, where those eligible supplementary energy sources are operated as an integrated part of a solar thermal project. A project must limit the output of electricity from eligible supplementary energy sources to 15 percent of the net electricity output from the plant;
- A project must be connected to either the National Electricity Market (NEM) or the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) by 31 December 2015;
- A project must be located on a single site, if it is a proposal using a solar thermal technology. A project must be located on no more than five sites, each of which would be connected to the same electricity grid, if it is a proposal using a photovoltaic technology;
- Projects must be scheduled to complete construction and commissioning of the plant by 31 December 2015.
- Projects must include an off-take agreement between the project proponent and a market participant, either contractually or through ownership of the project,
Solar Flagships Program Merit Criteria
- The funding sought from the Solar Flagships Program for the project, compared with the expected electricity output of the plant, excluding output from energy sources other than solar energy.
- The funding sought from the Solar Flagships Program for the project, compared with the funding being contributed to the project by the applicant and other sources, including state and territory governments.
- Commercial viability of the project including the cost of the project compared with the expected electricity output of the plant from solar energy and eligible supplementary energy sources, noting that eligible supplementary energy sources may contribute no more than 15 percent of the net electricity output from the plant.
- The risk associated with the project including; the technical risk of scale up of the technology to be used in the project; the implementation risk associated with the capability of the applicant to deliver the proposed plant to specification at the proposed location and within the time proposed; the risk associated with the ability of the proposed plant to operate at the planned specifications over the life of the project; the risk associated with the ability of the proposed plant to operate within the range forecast in the financial plan for the project; and the risks that the project will be able to secure finance to deliver the project.
- Inclusion of energy storage as an element in the project, with projects including some significant use of storage having higher merit.
- Inclusion of Australian industry participation, including participation by small and medium size enterprises, with such participation indicating higher merit.
- The opportunities the project may create for regional development with such participation indicating higher merit.
- Management capability of the applicant, with applicants assessed to have greater capacity to manage the development of a major infrastructure project having higher merit.
- Financial capacity of the applicant and the proposed supporting consortium including the ability of the applicant to fund the costs of the project as they fall due.
- Technical strength of the project and the technical capability and resources available to the applicant and the proposed supporting consortium.
- The potential of the project to build and retain local, and attract international solar energy expertise to Australia and increase Australia’s share of the global market for solar energy technologies.
- Degree of acceptance by the applicant of the terms and conditions of the Deed.
Those applicants who are short-listed in the first stage will be invited to submit Full Applications for the second stage of assessment. Short‑listed applicants will be notified of the second selection stage timings.
Solar Flagship Program – Guide For Applicants
Solar Flagship Program – Program Administrative Guidelines
Proposals must be lodged with the Department by 5.00pm on Monday 15 February 2010.
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