In conjunction with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government, AGL delivered two large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants with a total capacity of 155 MW (AC) at Nyngan (102 MW) and Broken Hill (53 MW) in regional New South Wales. ARENA provided $166.7 million in funding and the NSW Government provided $64.9 million.
The Broken Hill Solar Plant is expected to generate approximately 126,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year.
On an annual basis, the Broken Hill Solar Plant will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 22,000 average Australian homes.
The solar plant will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 105,840 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum, assuming a rate of 0.84 tonnes per MWh of electricity. Particulate and heavy metal emissions will also be reduced.
Powering Australian Renewables Fund acquires Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants
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 Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants.
Broken Hill has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in NSW, making it an ideal location for a solar power plant. The city has a large population with several mines located nearby, meaning there is significant need for electrical power in the region. An existing substation is located near the solar plant, allowing for relatively efficient connection into the electrical grid.
The site is located approximately five kilometres southwest of the Broken Hill township, adjacent to Willyama Common. The solar plant occupies approximately 140 hectares of land bounded by the Barrier Highway to the north and the Peterborough-Broken Hill rail line to the south. The site is Crown Land administered by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Catchment and Lands Division.
AGL were responsible for the development and management of the project. First Solar provided AGL with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and will also maintain the plant for five years after commercial operation starts. The electricity produced by the project will be sold under a power purchase agreement to AGL Hydro Partnership, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL.
Construction of the Broken Hill Solar Plant started in mid July 2014 and was completed at the end of 2015.
AGL Energy Limited’s Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants, Australia’s largest utility-scale solar PV power plants located in western NSW, were officially opened during a ceremony at the Nyngan plant in January 2016
First Solar's advanced cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules will be used to convert sunlight into electricity which will be 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 current PV technology.
Generation from the Broken Hill Solar Plant commenced on 15 September 2015 and full generation (53 MW) was achieved in October 2015.
The following information is provided for 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; and
link to Green Energy Markets showing the LGC market prices.
The Broken Hill 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.
During the construction period, AGL estimates that up to 150 direct, local construction jobs were generated in Broken Hill. First Solar were focused on sourcing as many of these jobs from the Broken Hill community and surrounding area as possible. In addition, during construction First Solar were able to maximise local and regional content in plant procurement and construction through 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
The construction of the solar plant included providing training to local workers in solar plant construction, high voltage power system construction, and construction management support and logistics. Additionally, plant construction and operation involve engaging a broad range of participants about solar construction methods, local planning issues and solar plant performance.
The Broken Hill Solar Plant is expected to generate approximately 126,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year. On an annual basis, the project will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 17,000 average New South Wales homes.
The solar plant will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 105,840 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum, assuming a rate of 0.84 tonnes per MWh of electricity. This is roughly equivalent to removing approximately 29,000 cars from the road. Particulate and heavy metal emissions will also be reduced.
The AGL solar projects will also facilitate research supported by the Education Investment Fund (EIF). AGL will collaborate with the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), as well as First Solar, to implement original research which will support the future development of solar energy in Australia.
The Australian Government will provide $40.7 million to UQ and UNSW to support construction of research infrastructure through the Education Investment Fund.
The University of Queensland (UQ) will build a 3.275 MW PV research plant at its Gatton campus to test tracking technologies and performance, energy storage, and operational strategies. UQ will also build a data analysis centre at its St Lucia campus to collect and analyse data from the Gatton research plant and the main AGL power stations.
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) will develop new energy modelling techniques to assist in the design and integration of solar power stations into the electricity grid. UQ's media release can be found here.
Broken Hill Solar Plant