Solar Atlas to pinpoint generation potential

Queensland Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has unveiled the Queensland Solar Atlas, a new electronic map to assist resource companies to pinpoint the best areas for potential future solar power generation projects.

Mr Robertson launched the map in October and said it was based on solar irradiance data collected at ground-monitoring stations in Roma, Cloncurry and Charters Towers.

“The Queensland Solar Atlas has confirmed the north-west, far north and central-west regions as the best areas for potential future solar power generation projects in Queensland,” Mr Robertson said.

“It may not be a total surprise that these regions have strong potential in terms of solar resources, due to the fact they experience a high proportion of mainly long, hot, sunny days.

“However, the interactive Solar Atlas drills down further to provide more detailed information about the intensity and frequency of the sun’s power in a particular area.”

Companies exploring solar energy opportunities in Queensland can also use the Solar Atlas to ascertain what infrastructure is available within each region, as it includes overlays of critical infrastructure such as electricity and gas transmission infrastructure and land and water resources.

“Individual companies use different technologies and what the atlas enables them to do is pinpoint exactly where the infrastructure is that suits their project,” Mr Robertson said.

Mr Robertson said the Solar Atlas clearly details average annual solar radiation information across the state.

“The interactive map was produced using data collected over a 365-day period, along with broader satellite-derived information,” he said.

“The information has been mapped on five kilometre by five kilometre grids and shows average potential solar generation output in kilowatt hours per day.

Mr Robertson said the Queensland Solar Atlas would better assist the private sector to develop large-scale solar projects, boosting investment opportunities for Queensland and stimulating job creation in the clean energy sector.