Solar Centre attracts international investment

 The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, in Alice Springs, now includes its first purely commercial demonstrations of technology with an investment from Q‐Cells. Q‐Cells is the first manufacturer or supplier to completely self fund their installations at the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre. With the recent launch of stage two of the development there are now over 30 different solar technology installations at the site. The Q‐Cells solar systems were installed according to CAT Projects' strict guidelines to ensure that the data generated is fully comparable to the existing installations.

“All around the world we hear of people utilising the data and information from the Solar Centre to inform investment and purchasing decisions, consequently as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of PV cells, we had to be involved. The data that was generated during the research and development phase of the installations has been invaluable in our effort to provide class leading products to our customers” said Oliver Hartley, Managing Director of Q‐Cells Australia.

John Huigen, CEO of Desert Knowledge Australia, noted the significance of the Solar Centre globally “with over 30 different installations now, and more planned, we have an unparalleled data set that is being used around the world, by householders to investment bankers. 73% of Australia’s landmass is classed as arid and has similar climatic conditions to Alice Springs, with one third of the global landmass also being regarded as arid. What we learn here has significant implications around the world and Q‐Cells investment reflects that."

Desert Knowledge Australia have released another tract of land and associated headworks, to be made available for additional installations at the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre. CAT Projects is the technology partner in the project. CAT Projects General Manager, Lyndon Frearson, said “for the past year we have been repeatedly asked whether we had more capacity for other manufacturers to test and display their installations at the Solar Centre. With this new land and headworks we can now install another 10‐12 installations as part of our plan to further increase the importance of the Solar Centre to the solar industry”.

All the data at the site is collected with utility grade meters and can be viewed live on line at The dataset collected is one of the most comprehensive longitudinal solar PV performance datasets available freely anywhere in the world. The level of accuracy of the all the instrumentation allows a very high degree of analysis to be undertaken and correlated with environmental factors to determine the likely performance of other installations.

The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre was established in October 2008 with $3.1M of funding provided by the Australian Government’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, and is administered by the Northern Territory Government. The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre has received several awards including awards for Engineering Excellence.

Media contacts: Rebecca Farrell, 0418 210 981, Lyndon Frearson 0439 839 920.