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.
Nyngan Solar Plant map (PDF)
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
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.
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.
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 (PDF) and calendar year 2017 (XLS):
- 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 (PDF)
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