The largest solar power plant in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere in Nyngan, NSW, is fully operational and has generated 60,000 MWh of renewable energy to date, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Since achieving full generation in June 2015, the plant has been sending 102 MW of solar-generated electricity into the National Electricity Market.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the successful beginning of Nyngan’s operations was a significant milestone in the development of Australia’s large-scale solar sector.
“AGL’s Solar Project at Nyngan and Broken Hill represents a big investment by the company and also by ARENA,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“It’s already achieving one of ARENA’s key aims of increasing the amount of renewable energy in Australia.
“And the knowledge gained from its successful launch and ongoing operations will lead to further improvements in technology and reductions in costs for the sector.”
The solar plant, a partnership between AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and First Solar, is expected to produce around 230,000 MWh of electricity annually which is sufficient to meet the needs of approximately 33,000 NSW homes.
Total capital expenditure for both the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plant is approximately $440 million, with $166.7 million being provided by ARENA and $64.9 million coming from the NSW Government.
It has involved the installation of 1.36 million solar PV modules and has provided economic benefits for the regional community including employment, which peaked at more than 250 people during construction.
Mr Frischknecht said the $290 million plant has been successfully delivered on time and on budget.
“Nyngan becomes the third large-scale solar plant in Australia to begin generating power, after Royalla (ACT) and Greenough River (WA). Nyngan’s ‘twin’ plant at Broken Hill will soon begin operation and Moree Solar Farm is expected to produce power in early 2016.”
Mr Frischknecht said ARENA would soon launch its competitive funding round for large-scale solar projects, which will see the next generation of solar farms built across the country.
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. It is taking action to responsibly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing secure and affordable energy to its customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL serves its customers throughout eastern Australia with meeting their energy requirements, including gas, electricity, solar PV and related products and services.
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, solar, landfill gas and biomass.
About First Solar
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems using 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.