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Solar power plant ‘shows Australia can lead the world’

The Australian government is contributing AU$66.5 million to construction of a 150 megawatt photovoltaic power plant in New South Wales that it says will be twice the size of the world’s biggest plant now operating.

The government says construction of the Moree Solar Farm will create jobs, strengthen industry-research partnerships and help Australia pursue its clean energy future initiative.

According to Kim Carr, the innovation minister, the solar plant will power around 45,000 homes, perform cutting-edge research and accelerate the development of Australia’s solar industry.

“The research will enhance the performance, resilience, profitability and social benefits of large-scale solar photovoltaic power. The ambitious project shows Australia is capable of leading the world when it comes to clean energy,” he said in a statement on 22 July.

The plant will accommodate scientists and researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle and Hunter TAFE.

The solar farm is an AU$925m project led by BP Solar, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Pacific Hydro.

Preliminary research will begin this year, with completion and commissioning of the plant expected by the end of 2015.