Two New Projects Boost Australia’s Solar Power Mix

by Antonio Pasolini on August 9, 2013

solarAustralia is set to get more solar power into the grid with two new large scale PV farms. AGL Energy Limited recently announced that two large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have managed to secure funding thanks to agreements with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the New South Wales (NSW) Government. The projects are expected to produce approximately 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough to meet the needs of over 50,000 average homes in the Australian region of New South Wales.

The projects include a 102MW solar power plant at Nyngan and a 53MW solar plant at Broken Hill. The total project cost is approximately $450 million. To support AGL’s delivery of the projects, ARENA will provide $166.7 million and the NSW Government will provide $64.9 million.

“Solar PV in Australia has come a long way from being a small-scale industry in a relatively short time frame. The Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants will be the nation’s largest solar projects with the Nyngan plant also being the largest in the Southern Hemisphere,” said AGL Managing Director, Michael Fraser.

AGL will deliver these projects in partnership with ARENA and the NSW Government, together with the local councils and communities of Broken Hill and Nyngan, and project partner First Solar.

“We expect these projects to create approximately 150 construction jobs in Broken Hill and approximately 300 in Nyngan. This will provide significant financial flow on benefits to both communities. The projects are expected to add nearly two percent to the gross regional product of each regional economy,” said Mr. Fraser.

Construction of the Nyngan project is expected to commence in January 2014, with completion scheduled by mid 2015. Construction of the Broken Hill project will start approximately six months later, in July 2014, and is scheduled to be completed around November 2015.

First Solar will operate and maintain both projects for AGL for five years after commercial operation starts. AGL will collaborate with the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales, as well as First Solar, to implement original research which will support the future development of solar energy in Australia.

The projects will also facilitate research supported by the Education Investment Fund.

Source: AGL. Via Gizmag

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