The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, has released guidelines for the first round of the Australian Government's $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program and called for applications by 15 February, 2010.
Round one will target 400 megawatts of solar generation from commercially proven technologies, leaving round two to provide an opportunity for the demonstration of a number of promising technologies that are not quite demonstration-ready today.
Two projects will be selected in round one - one solar thermal and one solar photovoltaic.
The Solar Flagships Program has been designed to accelerate the delivery of large-scale, grid-connected solar power into the National Electricity Market.
Minister Ferguson said: "Australia has a world-class solar resource and if we can make technology breakthroughs and drive the costs down, it has the potential to play a significant role in Australia's electricity markets in the long-term.
"I am very pleased to call for Solar Flagship applications from today and I look forward to strong competition to deliver the first two projects."
The Australian Government recognises the need to invest in pulling through clean energy technologies at this early stage of transition to a low carbon economy.
Minister Ferguson said: "We have to find sustainable ways to maintain affordable, reliable and clean energy supplies, at the same time maintaining the international competitiveness of Australian industry. That is why we have invested $4.5 billion in the Clean Energy Initiative."
The Clean Energy Initiative includes the $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program, the $2.4 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program, the $560 million Australian Centre for Renewable Energy and the $100 million Australian Solar Institute.
Proposal forms and supporting documentation for the Solar Flagships Program are available at www.ret.gov.au or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.