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    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Queenslanders smash solar energy target – more than three years early!

    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Queenslanders smash solar energy target – more than three years early!

    Queenslanders have smashed the Sunshine State’s solar energy target more than three years ahead of schedule, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said today.

    “In April 2010, the Bligh Government set a challenge to double Queensland's use of solar energy in five years,” he said.

    “We have not only achieved this target, we have smashed it more than three years early.

    “Town by town and city by city, Queenslanders have built a Virtual Solar Power Station by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop panels or solar hot water systems.

    ”When we set our challenge last year, Queensland had an estimated 250 megawatts of installed solar capacity.

    “This represented approximately 180,000 household solar hot water systems and the equivalent of 23,000 small scale (1.5 kilowatt) solar panel systems.

    “Today, Queensland has a total of 500 megawatts of installed solar capacity.

    “This represents approximately more than 230,000 household solar hot water systems and the equivalent of around 141,000 small scale (1.5 kilowatt) solar panel systems.“

    Mr Robertson said 500 megawatts of solar energy is larger than the operating capacity of many of Queensland’s smaller coal, gas and renewable energy-fired power stations.

    “We have some exciting new solar projects under development like the new 250 megawatt Solar Dawn solar thermal power station planned for Chinchilla.

    “We are also delivering new solar farms for Hervey Bay and Cloncurry.

    “Our solar energy capacity will continue to grow as Queenslanders take advantage of Bligh Government incentives to install solar panels or solar hot water systems.”

    Mr Robertson said he is touring Queensland over the coming months to engage with industry stakeholders and make further significant solar announcements.

    “I want to see first-hand some of the innovative projects that are helping to create a clean energy future for Queensland,” he said.

    “It’s already off to a great start, last week I officially opened Australia’s largest flat panel photovoltaic (PV) solar array at the University of Queensland and today we are celebrating hitting our virtual solar power station target.”

    Mr Robertson said the Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme is one of the most successful schemes of its type in Australia.

    “To date, more than 100,500 Queenslanders are participating in the scheme and have contributed 224 megawatts of the State’s 226 megawatts of installed solar PV generating capacity.

    “Every time a house, business or government building installs solar, this contributes to building our virtual solar power station.

    “We have also paid nearly $15.3 million in Solar Hot Water Rebate scheme payments to more than 20,500 recipients towards the cost of replacing their electric hot water system with a solar hot water system or heat pump.”

    “To date, installed solar hot water capacity in Queensland has reached 275 megawatts.

    Mr Robertson said solar is a key part of the Bligh Government's renewable energy strategy.

    “Through the Queensland Renewable Energy Plan, we are increasing the use of renewable energy and delivering a clean energy future for Queenslanders.

    “Since 2008, Queensland's renewable energy capacity has already climbed 45 per cent from 743 megawatts to 1,080 megawatts.

    “That equates to almost 8 percent of Queensland’s total generation capacity and almost 10 per cent of Australia’s total renewable energy capacity.

    “That means we are well on our way to achieving our own target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

    “Queensland is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources - including solar, geothermal, biomass, wind and hydroelectricity - to generate cleaner electricity.

    “These resources will play a key role in meeting the energy demands of Queensland's growing population, creating a new green jobs-based industry, and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Mr Robertson said the Bligh Government will examine all of its renewable energy targets, including solar, as part of a review of the Queensland Renewable Energy Plan.

    Media contact: Minister’s office – 0437 436 914