AGL starts construction at Broken Hill Solar Plant

AGL Energy Limited (AGL) commenced construction at its new 140 ha site five kilometres southwest of Broken Hill, this week, marking the start of the 16-month construction project for its Broken Hill Solar Plant project in western New South Wales. 

AGL will deliver the 53 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Broken Hill in partnership with the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the NSW Government, the Broken Hill City Council, the local community and project partners First Solar.

AGL’s Project Manager for the Broken Hill Solar Plant, Adam Mackett said this is an important milestone for the Broken Hill project.  

“We’ve begun construction on schedule and we expect to employ up to 150 people on site at the peak of construction.  This will provide significant financial flow on benefits to the Broken Hill community.

“More than 650,000 solar PV modules will be installed at our Broken Hill Solar Plant and we expect to complete the project by November 2015.  Once operational, the plant will produce enough electricity to power more than 17,000 average NSW homes,” said Mr Mackett.

The Broken Hill Solar plant has also reached another milestone by securing approval of a 30-year lease for the project site with the Crown Lands Division of the NSW Government.

“Under this lease AGL will construct and operate the 53 MW solar power plant, which will be an iconic project for Broken Hill and the Western District of NSW,” explained Mr Mackett. 

“As this is the first large-scale solar project on crown land in NSW, we worked closely with the Crown Lands Division to develop a precedent-setting lease framework which satisfied the commercial requirements of both parties.  We believe this model will become a benchmark for future solar projects proposed on crown land in the State.”

AGL also hosted the second of its Broken Hill Community Consultative Community meetings earlier this week in Broken Hill to update the community on the project’s status and answer questions.

As well as the activity at the Broken Hill Solar Plant, construction at AGL’s 102 MW Nyngan Solar Plant continues.  The Broken Hill and Nyngan solar plants are collectively worth $440 million and will be Australia’s largest utility-scale solar projects.

At both the Broken Hill and Nyngan Solar Plant projects, First Solar will provide engineering, procurement and construction services using its advanced thin-film PV modules.  First Solar will also operate and maintain the projects for AGL for five years after construction concludes and commercial operation starts.

 

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas,biomass and solar. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.

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About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com

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About the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

ARENA was established by the former Australian Government as an independent authority to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA is funded to 2022 to invest in renewable energy projects, support research and development activities, and increase industry and community knowledge about renewable energy.

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About NSW Government support for renewable energy

The NSW Government supports the development and uptake of the renewable energy in the state. The NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan will be the main driver for increasing the uptake of renewable energy in the state. The plan’s three goals and 24 actions will guide NSW’s renewable energy development and support the national target of achieving 20% electricity from renewable sources by 2020 at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits to NSW.

The NSW Regional Clean Energy Program (RCEP) and the Renewable Energy Advocate will work closely with NSW communities and the renewable energy industry to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects, increase renewable energy generation in NSW and help remove barriers and promote investment in renewable energy.