Queensland is making the most of its reputation as the Sunshine State by leading the national charge into large-scale solar power, the Clean Energy Council said today at the inaugural Large-scale Solar Industry Forum in Brisbane.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the state already boasted the most rooftop solar power in the country and is now shaping up as the home of large-scale solar.

“The 14 solar projects that are already under construction or will start in 2017 add up to close to $2 billion of new investment across the state, bringing with them at least 1570 direct jobs and more than 800 MW of new clean energy generating capacity. Just this week it was announced that a 42.5MW solar plant at Collinsville, north-west of Mackay, will start construction very soon,” Mr Thornton said.

“A combination of the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET), support from the Queensland Government, Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and billions of dollars in private investment is working to dramatically reduce the costs of the technology, which have almost halved in just the last couple of years.

“There are huge opportunities in Queensland and a very supportive state government, which is why the renewable energy industry chose Brisbane as the city to host the first Large-scale Solar Industry Forum in 2017. The rapid growth we are seeing is occurring as part of a broader economic transformation which brings with it a big opportunity to retrain people from other industries, including mining.

“As the Australian market gains experience in construction and operation, it's a great time to get together to share lessons that have been learned, and work to ensure there are skilled professionals to deliver these exciting projects,” he said.

Over 300 engineers and specialists in the industry are in Brisbane today to attend the sector’s first dedicated large-scale solar technical conference, which has sold out due to popular demand.

Mr Thornton said the technology supporting large-scale solar is constantly evolving and maturing.

“We’re seeing a trend towards single axis tracking, which allows more solar power to be captured over a longer period of time, as well as storage technology which helps improve energy security and peak demand,” he said.

A list of speakers at today’s forum is available on the Clean Energy Council website.

The Clean Energy Council has also compiled a full national list of the renewable energy projects under construction, completed or starting in 2017.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.