AGL Energy Limited today confirmed that the Nyngan Solar Plant in western New South Wales (NSW) has achieved full generation, sending 102MW of renewable energy into the National Electricity Market.
AGL Project Manager for both the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plants, Adam Mackett, said the team has been working very closely with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Essential Energy (EE) to make sure testing and commissioning was satisfactory to enable 100 percent generation.
"This is a great achievement for the largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant ever built in Australia. We have received confirmation from both AEMO and EE to increase generation to full capacity of 102MW which is enough to power 33,000 homes annually, or the equivalent of supplying electricity to residents in a city more than twice the size of Dubbo, in western NSW, for a year.
"We will now be conducting final commissioning and testing ahead of the plant being fully operational next month. We are particularly pleased that this project has provided many local workers with the opportunity to broaden their skills as well as an economic boost to the regional economy," said Mr Mackett.
Environment Minister Mark Speakman said this is great news for the people of Nyngan and the wider NSW community. "It's the culmination of many years of work by researchers, industry, government and the community. We've created a new era for large-scale solar energy in the Southern Hemisphere."
"This new Australian record sends a strong signal to the energy industry that utility-scale solar PV plants can be constructed on time and on budget, said Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) CEO Ivor Frischknecht, adding, "ARENA is pleased to support this landmark project, which will greatly increase market confidence in future solar PV projects, bringing down the cost of planning, construction and finance."
First Solar's Regional Manager for Asia Pacific, Jack Curtis reinforced this, adding, "This achievement demonstrates how utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power can be deployed at scale and seamlessly integrated into Australia's electricity grid. The increased energy production and reliable long-term performance of First Solar's advanced technology will continue to contribute to a lower Levelised Cost of Electricity; highlighting our ability to successfully translate science into a commercially viable product."
AGL's 140 hectare Broken Hill plant has also reached a significant construction milestone, with 35 percent of the 650,000 solar PV modules installed.
"Construction at our 53MW Broken Hill plant is on schedule. We're also progressing plans for energising the plant with local network service provider Transgrid, which is an important step towards commissioning of the plant," Mr Mackett explained. Combined, the two solar plants are expected to produce approximately 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. This will be sufficient to meet the needs of over 50,000 average NSW homes.
Total capital expenditure for the two projects is approximately $440 million, with $166.7 million being provided by the Federal Government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $64.9 million from the NSW Government. AGL will deliver the solar plants in partnership with local councils and communities, project partner First Solar, as well ARENA and the NSW Government.