Australia’s biggest solar PV plant begins generating power

Leading Australian utility AGL Energy’s (AGL) Nyngan Solar Plant began generating power in Australia’s western New South Wales  this past Saturday with the first 25 MW of 100 percent renewable energy feeding into the National Electricity Market.

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The Nyngan Solar Plant site is located on an agricultural property approximately 10 kilometres west of the Nyngan township. The solar plant will occupy approximately 250 hectares of land to the north of the Barrier Highway and approximately 3 km south of the Nyngan – Cobar 132kV line.

 

The electricity is coming from a section of the solar plant which consists of approximately 350,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. Further generation will progressively be brought online over the next three months as the remaining three sections of the plant are individually commissioned.

AGL Group General Manager Merchant Energy, Anthony Fowler, said this is a significant milestone for Australia’s largest utility-scale solar PV plant.

“First generation represents a great achievement for all the project stakeholders. It has required close coordination between local electricity distributor Essential Energy, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), project partner First Solar and AGL to facilitiate this successful milestone.”

Once completed, the $290 million Nyngan Solar Plant will have capacity of 102 MW, bolstering AGL’s credentials as the largest ASX-listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in Australia. In the last decade AGL has invested more than $3 billion in renewable energy projects.

Environment Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Government was strongly committed to the transition to renewable energy, through projects such as this.

“The Baird Government wants NSW to lead the nation in clean energy development, and this $64.9 million investment is a strong demonstration of our dedication to that goal. There are an estimated 13,000 jobs supported by renewable energy in NSW, mostly in regional areas. Renewable energy generation in NSW has doubled over the last decade and has driven $8 billion of investment, predominantly in regional areas. The development of projects in regional NSW has the potential to provide traditional farming communities with alternative income streams that are not rainfall dependent” .

According to Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Asia-Pacific Regional Manager,

“First generation at Nyngan represents an important milestone, especially as it relates to the broader power sector’s adoption of utility-scale solar as a meaningful contributor to Australia’s generation mix. We commend AGL for its first-mover commitment to the sector, with the fantastic support from both ARENA and the NSW Government”.

The Nyngan solar plant will produce enough renewable electricity annually to supply more than 33,000 homes.

AGL is constructing the Nyngan Solar Plant and the 53 MW Broken Hill Solar Plant with $166.7 million funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $64.9 million from the NSW Government. Both plants are being constructed in partnership with First Solar, local councils, and local communities.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, congratulated AGL on the achievement and said the project is paving the way for more large-scale solar plants to be built in Australia.

“AGL’s solar project will help bring down the cost of similar plants, making them more competitive. In addition to creating jobs, boosting skills and contributing to local communities, the development of utility-scale solar is vital to a diverse energy future”.

The Nyngan project has provided economic benefits for the community including employment, which during the peak of construction reached more than 250 people on site. Businesses in Nyngan and the wider Orana region have also benefited from local procurement and contracts associated with the project’s construction.

Nyngan Solar Plant Fact Sheet

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To learn more about the project click here.


Source: AGL’s Nyngan Solar Plant starts generating renewable energy Press Release by AGL Energy. Image Credit: AGL Energy.