Australia’s largest solar power research facility has officially opened in Newcastle.

‘Unlike most solar thermal power stations which require water, this facility will initially be used to develop and test a solar air turbine, which will generate electricity from air and sunshine only,’ Mr Ferguson said.

The 30-metre high CSIRO solar tower will be an international hub for solar tower research, development and commercialisation.

It is the largest in the country, and includes 450 mirrors which have been designed to capture the sun’s power and generate electricity.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson officially opened the tower on Saturday morning.