08/10/2008 - 22:00

Local firms’ solar sales

08/10/2008 - 22:00

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TWO Western Australian solar firms have secured their biggest contracts to date.

Local firms’ solar sales

TWO Western Australian solar firms have secured their biggest contracts to date.

Solar power system manufacturer SunPower Australia, formerly known as Solar Sales, has signed an agreement to build a 305-kilowatt power system on the roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alice Springs.

When completed, the system will be the largest roof-mounted solar power system in Australia.

The solar installation will generate more than 530,000 kilowatt hours a year, which is expected to significantly reduce the cost of power to the hotel.

The system, consisting of a total of 1,326 SunPower modules, will provide between 40 and 80 per cent of the hotel's power requirements, depending on the time of year.

The project will cost $3 million, $1.5 million of which has been granted by the federal government through its $94 million Solar Cities program.

SunPower Australia managing director Bob Blakiston said the installation was a testament to the growing adoption of solar energy on commercial and public buildings.

"We are proud that [project owner] Invest North chose SunPower's high-efficiency solar panels to help power its flagship hotel in Australia," he said.

"Through the support of the Rudd Labor government, projects such as this set a clear standard for what is expected of Australian companies when reducing their environmental impact."

The solar installation will reduce the Crowne Plaza's greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 420 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent of taking 142 medium sized cars off the road for one year.

Silicon Valley-based SunPower bought Belmont-based solar panel distributor Solar Sales in July, to form SunPower Australia.

Solar Sales has been supplying solar panels and inverters to the Australian market for more than 25 years, and has built a network of 30 dealers nationwide.

Welshpool-based solar hot water manufacturer Solahart has signed a $4 million contract to supply 3,500 solar panels to a construction camp in Abu Dhabi.

The camp will host 20,000 people working on the construction of the $27 billion Saadiyat Island project, off Abu Dhabi, which is expected to take 10 years to build.

The contract is believed to be the single largest contract of its kind out of Australia.

Solahart has previously supplied solar hot water panels to hotels in the Middle East, and has an international dealer network of 72, including four in the Middle East.

Solahart, together with Edwards Hot Water, is part of Rheem Australia, and is one of WA's biggest manufacturing exporters.

Last financial year, Solahart achieved export revenues of $32 million, up from $28 million the previous year.

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