On an annual basis, the Nyngan Solar Plant will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 40,000 average Australian homes.

Nyngan Solar Plant is one of two large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants delivered by AGL in 2015, jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government.

The 102 MW solar plant in Nyngan, western New South Wales is expected to generate approximately 230,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year.

Particulate and heavy metal emissions will also be reduced.

Location

Nyngan Solar Plant is located on an agricultural property about 10 km west of the Nyngan township, sitting on about 250 hectares of flat, rural land to the north of the Barrier Highway. There is a good buffer from Nyngan and nearby residents.

It's an ideal location. Nyngan receives strong and consistent solar radiation. Plus, it sits between the regional centre of Dubbo to the east and a number of mining loads at Cobar to the west – meaning that demand for electrical power is high. The existing Nyngan-Cobar 132 kV transmission line is just south of the site, allowing for relatively efficient connection into the electrical grid.


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Powering Australian Renewables Fund

On behalf of the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), AGL announced in November 2016 that it had reached financial close on selling its 102 MW Nyngan and 53 MW Broken Hill solar plants into the fund.

The AU$257 million sale, with approximately nil profit on sale, includes AGL writing a long term offtake agreement with the two solar plants.

Media release: Powering Australian Renewables Fund achieves first major milestone

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Project delivery

AGL was responsible for the development and management of Nyngan Solar Plant. Construction began in January 2014 and was completed in mid-2015. The plant was officially opened in January 2016.


First Solar provided AGL with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and is also maintaining the plant for its first five years of commercial operation. The electricity produced by the project will be sold under a power purchase agreement to AGL Hydro Partnership, a partnership between wholly owned subsidiaries of AGL.

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How does the solar plant work?

First Solar's advanced cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules convert sunlight into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid. This process generates electricity with no air emissions, no waste production and no water use, and has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any PV technology.

Some of the world's largest solar PV plants use First Solar PV modules. Indeed, over 7,000 MW of their modules are installed worldwide.

At Nyngan, about 1.35 million solar PV modules are installed on frames, supported by about 150,000 steel posts. These modules are at a fixed (non-tracking) tilt of 25 degrees, facing north. They are wired together in arrays, and connected to inverters which transform the DC current produced by the modules into AC current that feeds into the grid.

A 33/132 kV transformer converts output from the plant to grid voltage, and a short 3 km section of new 132 kV transmission line connects the solar plant's substation to the existing Nyngan-Cobar transmission line.

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Generation

Generation from the Nyngan Solar Plant commenced on 21 March 2015. Full generation (102 MW) was achieved in June 2015.

The following information is provided for the calendar year 2016 and calendar year 2017:

  • actual generation from the solar plant during the AEMO trading interval
  • actual regional reference price for each trading interval
  • link to Green Energy Markets showing the LGC market prices.

The Nyngan Solar Plant is connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM) which is managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). For a glossary of terms associated with the NEM and mentioned in our report please refer to the AEMO website. The solar plant revenue is also subject to the Marginal Loss Factors (MLF) which are published each financial year by AEMO.

Report: Nyngan Generation

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Project benefits

During the construction period, up to 250 local construction jobs were generated. First Solar sourced as many of these jobs from Nyngan and the surrounding region as possible. They also maximised local and regional content in plant procurement and construction by sourcing local materials.

Local opportunities provided during plant construction included:

  • civil engineering and site preparation
  • post, racking, and module installation
  • high voltage power system works
  • communications and monitoring system works
  • construction and supervision roles
  • administration and construction support roles.

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Community engagement

AGL is committed to keeping the community in the loop during operation of Nyngan Solar Plant. We hold regular information sessions, place ads in local papers, do letterbox drops and more – listening and responding to locals' concerns and questions.

We also actively support local community groups through the AGL Nyngan Solar Plant Community Fund. This fund provides financial support to a range of initiatives, projects and events – in areas including health, social welfare, safety, environment, education, youth, sport, recreation, culture, arts and economic development.

You can review archived agendas, minutes and presentations from the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) in the documents tab above.

Today, the community can visit the viewing platform at the Nyngan Solar Plant – which provides a great vantage point to take in the immense scale of the project.

For more information, please read the Nyngan Solar Plant Community & Stakeholder Engagement Plan.

Nyngan Indigenous Leadership Program
17 May 2017

In May 2017, AGL had the opportunity to work with the Indigenous Concepts and Networking (ICaN) group as part of the Indigenous Leadership Program at Nyngan. The group – led by local Nathan Riley – are building a bush tucker garden at the Nyngan solar plant viewing platform, and are working with us to deliver Indigenous Leadership Programs in local schools.

In addition to speaking to kids of all ages, Nathan has also worked with the local Aboriginal Land Council and the Aboriginal Police Liaison Team to host a fun run.

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Community complaints and enquiries

If you would like to enquire or make a complaint about Nyngan Solar Plant, please feel free to contact us via the following channels:

AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries Hotline: 1800 039 600

Email: AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

Mail: AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries, Locked Bag 3013, Australia Square NSW 1215

You can find out more about how AGL engages with the community here and access the Community Complaints and Feedback Policy here.

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Environmental management plans

First Solar and Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) prepared a Construction Environmental Management Plan in consultation with the Bogan Shire Council and in accordance with the Guideline for the Preparation of Environmental Management Plans (Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, 2004).

The plans – which were approved by the Director-General and implemented during construction – included:

The Operational Environmental Management Plan for the Nyngan Solar Plant was also prepared and implemented in accordance with the same guidelines. The plan was approved by the Director-General and is available below:

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Environmental assessment

AGL submitted a Scoping Study in June 2012 to the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure (DoPI). The project was assessed under the State Significant Development (SSD) guidelines.

AGL received Environmental Assessment Requirements (also known as DGRs) from DoPI in late July 2012 and, based on these requirements, prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project. It was submitted to DoPI for adequacy review in late October 2012.

AGL received comments back from agency stakeholders in December 2012, and submitted a revised EIS in February 2013. This was placed on public exhibition from 14 March to 15 April 2013 – nine submissions were received. AGL duly prepared a Submissions Report, with the report submitted to DoPI in June 2013.

DoPI referred the project to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) for final determination and the project was approved on 15 July 2013. As part of the project approval, PAC specified that AGL must:

  • prevent, minimise and/or offset adverse environmental impacts
  • comply with standards and environmental performance measures for the project
  • establish monitoring programs and provide regular reporting
  • provide for ongoing environmental management of the project.

A copy of the approval conditions is available here.

 AGL also submitted a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPAC). DSEWPAC determined that the proposed action was not a controlled action – so the project did not require further assessment and approval.

All of the reports mentioned above are available in the documents below. For more information:

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Environment

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) referral