Ceramet Solar is opening its doors to pre-arranged tours
Published on 22 March 2018
Ever driven past that solar power plant at Bridgewater and wondered what’s inside?
Now it’s possible to find out, thanks to a new arrangement between the owner of the site, Ceramet Solar, and the Loddon Shire, which has introduced weekly hour-long visits into its popular Loddon Discovery Tours schedules.
Ceramet Solar is part of Ballarat-based Ceramet Pty Ltd, established to support that company’s transition from being strictly an automotive and electrical componentry manufacturer into becoming a diverse manufacturing enterprise for both automotive and the renewable energy industry.
Ceramet Solar recently acquired the 35ha Bridgewater site along with a sister facility in Mildura, spread over 100 hectares. Both are equipped with grid connection for solar power generation.
Bridgewater incorporates testing and research facilities, a fully furnished function room for training and conference purposes, fire pit/barbecue area.
Ceramet general manager Michael Doolan said the move to join Loddon Discovery Tours had been a natural progression for the company.
“We’ve enjoyed a fairly close relationship with Loddon Shire since we purchased the Bridgewater site, but over the past month we’ve been discussing the idea of participating in the Discovery Tours,” Mr Doolan said.
“We have had a number of interest groups visit over the past 12 months and one open day, so the idea has grown from there.
“When tour groups do arrive, we’ll give them a short safety brief, a brief presentation on the company and a walk around the site to explain the different technologies.
“Ideally, there’d be 15 people at a time or fewer, but we can handle up to 20.”
Ceramet is a fully Australian-owned metal pressing company, specialising in metal stamping, precision parts and tool making services for the automotive, electrical, solar energy, mining, Defence and a wide range of standard parts for the building industry.
Its products are exported to various countries around the world, including Thailand, South Africa, Brazil, the US, Mexico, Hungary, Spain and Malaysia.
Other enterprises currently active under the Ceramet Solar banner include self-powered single-axis sun trackers, on-site testing services, solar panel installation training and solar-powered electric vehicle recharging stations with LED lighting and rainwater collection.
“Some of the technology we’re developing at Bridgewater is larger than you’d want for your home – it could, for example, be used on farms for producing up to 100kW or more,” Mr Doolan said.
“The site is already producing electricity for the grid. It has a connection of 500kW, but we’re extending that to 1.3m MW.
“Our future development plans forecast an increase in manufacturing staff at the site of two to three times within the next 12 months.”
Bookings for these tours can be made through the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5494 3489.