The Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station is a photovoltaic (PV) heliostat solar concentrator power station is to be built in Mildura, Victoria by Solar Systems. The 154 megawatt (MW), A$420 million, project will generate 270,000 MWh per year, enough for more than 45,000 homes. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 400,000 tonnes per year, and will also aid in reducing salinity and create jobs during manufacture, construction and operation. Full commissioning is expected in 2013, with the first stage to be completed in 2010.

The "CS500" dish concentrator photovoltaic (PV) unit design has 112 curved reflecting mirrors, which track the sun throughout the day. The combination of mirror profile, mounting framework, and solar receiver will deliver concentrated solar energy to each PV module. The tracking mechanism allows electricity to be produced during the day whenever the sun is more than 5° above the horizon. Direct current electricity from the receivers is passed through an electronic inverter that produces grid-quality alternating current. Transformers step up the voltage to the requirement of the local network at the point of connection. Advantages claimed for this design include:

  • "The CS500 dish has a longer effective operating life than traditional PV. Because the receiver is only a small area of photovoltaic (PV) (a 35 kW CS500 dish has a PV area of 0.23m² whereas 35 kW of traditional flat plate would use approximately 350m²) maintenance is simple, quick and affordable. The modules include a specially-designed filter that removes harmful UV radiation that reduces the operating efficiency and life of traditional PV technology. The modules are also cooled, which increases their effective operating life and their efficiency".
  • "The CS500 dish costs significantly less (per installed watt) than traditional photovoltaic (PV) technology. This is despite the fact that the CS500 is new and still near the top of its cost curve. Advances in technology, maturity and volume production will further increase the gap".
"The CS500 produces more electricity (per installed watt) than fixed flatplate photovoltaic (PV) technology - by up to 30%. This is because it tracks the sun and operates at lower temperatures".