AGL’s Nyngan Solar Plant will soon be up and running and upon completion, the plant will have a 102 MW capacity. The mega project set to reaffirm AGL’s reputation as the biggest ASX-listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in Australia. This distinction is well deserved as AGL has invested over $3 billion in renewable energy projects in the past decade.
Nyngan Solar Plant project to boost local township
Nyngan Solar Plant’s inspection in early March, Anthony Fowler, Group General Manager of Merchant Energy stated that he was pleased with the progress of the construction of the project.
The 250 hectare site will be the largest utility-scale solar PV plant in Australia. It is located on an agricultural property approximately 10 kilometres west of the Nyngan township. The solar plant occupies approximately 250 hectares of land to the north of the Barrier Highway.
The Nyngan location is perfect for solar power generation because it receives strong and consistent solar radiation. The project site is well located between the regional centre of Dubbo to the east, and a number of mining loads at Cobar to the west. That means there is really a considerable need for electrical power in the region.
The existing Nyngan – Cobar 132kV transmission line is located just south of the site, allowing for an efficient connection into the electrical grid.
Consistent solar radiation boost Nyngan energy generation
“A project of this magnitude has never been done in Australia before and together with project partners First Solar, we have reached the installation of the millionth module while remaining on track and on budget,” says Fowler.
“It’s a credit to everyone working on the project,” he enthuses.
The Hon. Anthony Roberts MP, Chairman of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency was with Anthony Fowler in the Nyngan Solar Plant inspection. They were joined by Bogan Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Jim Hamstead, Mr. Greg Bourne, officials of First Solar and also other state and local government officials and project employees.
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“In total, 1.35 million advanced thin-film solar PV modules will be installed,” Fowler explains. “If placed end-to-end, the modules would measure more than 1,600 kilometres, or the equivalent distance of Nyngan to Uluru as the crow flies,” adds Fowler.
Solar plant predicted to generate enough clean energy for 33,000 homes
The first generation of electricity from the solar power plant occurred in April, and the plant is expected to be fully operational by July 2015. Once operational, the solar PV plant will generate enough renewable electricity every year that can supply more than 33,000 homes.
There are many economic benefits that the solar power plant has provided to the regional community. These include employment, which at the peak of construction reached more than 250 people on site. Business in the local area and the wider Orana region have also benefited from local procurement and contracts related with the construction of the project.
Along with the Nyngan Solar Plant, AGL is also constructing the 53 MW Broken Hill Solar Plant using the $166.7 million funding from ARENA and $64.9 million from the NSW Government. These two plants are being constructed in partnership with local councils, local communities, and First Solar.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Levine on Flickr