Feb 9, 2009

$60M solar facility given Major Project Facilitation status

$60M solar facility given Major Project Facilitation status

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 9 2009

I have granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to a planned $60 million solar manufacturing facility which has the potential to be the largest supplier of solar cells in the Southern Hemisphere.

Spark Solar Australia’s Solar Cell Manufacturing Project is the first to be granted MPF status by the Rudd Labor Government, demonstrating how we are building the low carbon economy laid out in last year’s White Paper.

With the right support from government, Australia can grow its renewable industries and become a world leader in green technologies, in turn creating thousands of highly skilled ‘green’ collar jobs and new export opportunities.

Spark proposes to use its new facility to research and develop solar cell technology as a clean energy option for businesses and households both here in Australia and overseas.

While the location of the factory has not yet been finalised, regions including Adelaide, Geelong, Wollongong, Queanbeyan and Canberra are under consideration.

Construction and fit out of the factory is expected to be completed by mid-2010, with the first solar cells set to roll off the production line by late next year.

At full production, the factory is initially expected to produce more than 10 million solar cells each year, generating an estimated $135 million in annual export revenue and employing more than 115 Australians in high tech positions.

MPF program is administered by my Department, with the purpose of facilitating and supporting private sector investment proposals through the approval processes of Federal and state/territory authorities. It also assists with the early identification of impediments to greater private sector investment.

The program demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting major new investments in Australia such as that proposed by Spark Solar Australia.