The United Nations says Perth is on a short list of cities being considered as the headquarters for the first UN Centre for Applications of Solar Energy.
Much of the $30 million budget for the project would be spent in Perth if it was chosen for the headquarters.
Western Australian Premier Dr Carmen Lawrence and Federal Resources Minister Alan Griffiths said today a final choice would be made after a visit to Perth in December by a high-level delegation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
"What is being proposed is that Perth becomes an international centre for adapting solar energy for use in developing countries," they said.
"This would recognise the fact that Perth has become Australia's base for the solar energy industry."
The Premier and the Minister said the Federal and State Governments, together with companies and tertiary institutions, were offering $60,000 towards the planning of the centre.
Dr Lawrence added that land next to the Murdoch University Energy Research Institute had been set aside for the headquarters.
"UNIDO recognises that solar technology has the potential to meet the energy needs of villages in developing countries in the region," she said.
"Given that Australia is a world leader in solar energy research and has used solar energy extensively in a number of applications, we are sure Perth is well placed to host the facility."
Dr Lawrence and Mr Griffiths said solar cells were at present used to meet the electricity needs of thousands of telecommunications installations, many hundreds of isolated houses and water-pumping systems and dozens of small communities in Australia.
"In fact, the Murdoch University Energy Research Institute has been responsible for developing transportable solar power supplies for 50 remote and semi-nomadic Aboriginal communities," the Premier said.
"This achievement alone has given Western Australia the type of expertise that is essential in designing appropriate systems for developing countries, which have remained a largely untapped market."
The Premier and the Minister said that if Perth was selected, there would be considerable opportunities for the Australian solar energy industry to contribute - and through such involvement open up substantial new export markets.