The final solar panel has been installed at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Nyngan, New South Wales, paving the way for more utility-scale solar plants to be built in Australia.
ARENA, AGL and First Solar today joined NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts and NSW Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman on site to celebrate the significant milestone.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated AGL and First Solar on the project’s progress, which has been several years in development and has an important role to play in bringing Australia a step closer to cost competitive large-scale solar PV.
“A total of 1.36 million solar panels have been successfully installed at the Nyngan site, which is now supplying 50MW of renewable energy to the national electricity market. When fully operational, the plant will produce 102MW peak output,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“ARENA has been working with AGL and First Solar during the planning and construction stages to ensure the energy industry can benefit from their experiences.
“To date we have published 19 reports covering a range of topics from planning, approvals and logistics to procurement, construction and grid connection.
“Pooling and sharing this knowledge will make it easier and cheaper to develop large scale solar plants in Australia by helping reduce financial, regulatory and technical barriers.”
AGL Managing Director and CEO Andy Vesey said the Nyngan Solar Plant was an extremely impressive facility on both an Australian and world scale.
“Low-emission technology like our Nyngan Solar Plant is an important part of AGL’s journey towards a decarbonised electricity generation sector. We are pleased to be adding to AGL’s and Australia’s portfolio of renewable energy generation and assets,” Mr Vesey said.
First Solar’s Regional Manager for Asia Pacific Jack Curtis said the project was helping to advance the commercialisation of large-scale solar PV in Australia.
“First Solar’s modules have dramatically improved in efficiency in recent years and this project demonstrates the increasing commercial competitiveness of our technology. Utility scale solar PV is already cost competitive with conventional generation in many parts of the world and will increasingly deliver economic stimulus to rural Australia,” Mr Curtis said.
This plant is part of the $440 million AGL solar project, which is supported by $166.7 million from ARENA and $64.9 million from the NSW Government. The project is advancing large-scale solar energy expertise in Australia by constructing solar power stations in Nyngan and Broken Hill with a combined generation capacity of up to 155 MW.
Mr Frischknecht said the AGL solar project was tracking well, with the 102MW Nyngan plant scheduled for completion in mid-2015 and the 53MW Broken Hill plant expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.
“In addition to today’s impressive milestone, the Broken Hill plant is also well underway with ground posts installed, pallets of solar panels arriving and newly constructed network components ready to supply renewable energy into the grid,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“The Broken Hill plant will benefit from the learnings gained in developing and constructing Nyngan.”
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies and is the largest ASX listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia’s largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for investors, communities and customers.
About First Solar
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com