The AGL Solar Project aimed to increase knowledge in large-scale solar energy through the construction of two solar photovoltaic (PV) power stations in New South Wales. Combined, the projects generate up to 155 megawatts (MW) (AC) of electricity.
Knowledge gained through the construction and operation of large-scale, grid-connected solar power stations will help solar energy to play a bigger role in meeting Australia’s electricity needs.
The AGL Solar Project aimed to increase knowledge in large-scale solar energy by constructing two solar photovoltaic (PV) power stations in New South Wales, which have a combined electricity generation capacity of up to 155 megawatts (MW) (AC).
AGL engaged First Solar as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. First Solar built the power stations using its thin film PV technology and will maintain the facilities for an initial five year period post-construction.
Under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) component of the project, the University of Queensland (UQ) built a 3.275MW PV research plant at its Gatton campus to test tracking technologies and performance, energy storage, and operational strategies. UQ also built a data analysis centre at its St Lucia campus to collect and analyse data from the Gatton research plant and the AGL solar power stations.
Also under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) component, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) developed new energy modelling techniques to assist in the design and integration of solar power stations into the electricity grid.
The NSW Government committed $64.9 million to the project.
This project helped the large-scale solar industry develop in Australia, encouraged economic and industry development at two locations in regional New South Wales, provided academic research infrastructure, and developed Australian intellectual property in solar power generation.
AGL estimated over 450 construction jobs were created at the two project locations, with more local jobs created to support the construction workforces. Approximately five permanent local jobs were also created to support ongoing plant operations at each site.
Importantly, the AGL project promoted industry development by transferring skills and experience to the local labour markets, as well as helping to develop a supply chain that benefits the entire solar industry. These developments helped drive down the cost of the next generation of large-scale solar projects.
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