Half of the modules installed at AGL's Broken Hill Solar Plant

AGL Energy Limited (AGL) confirms that construction of the Broken Hill Solar Plant in western New South Wales is progressing on schedule, with half of the plant’s 650,000 solar PV modules installed.

AGL’s Project Manager for the Broken Hill Solar Plant, Adam Mackett, said first generation from the 53 megawatt (MW) solar plant is expected to be achieved in the next few months and remains on track to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

“The plant is really starting to take shape with half of the solar plant modules installed and connected. We currently have around 150 people working on site, with approximately half from the local region,” said Mr Mackett.  

The $150 million Broken Hill Solar Plant, being built approximately five kilometres southwest of Broken Hill, will cover an area of approximately 140 hectares. 

AGL will provide an update on construction progress and other aspects of the project at a Broken Hill Solar Plant community information session on Wednesday, 1 July. Open to the public, the event will be held at the Broken Hill Centre for Community, 200 Beryl Street, Broken Hill, from 6pm to 8pm.

“This meeting is open to the public and there has been good discussion at previous meetings. We really encourage people to come along and find out what’s happening at the solar plant and ask any questions they may have,” said Mr Mackett

AGL will deliver the Broken Hill Solar Plant 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. Once fully operational the Broken Hill plant will produce enough renewable energy to power 17,000 homes annually.

The Broken Hill Solar Plant is the second of two plants that AGL is building in western NSW. The 102 MW Nyngan Solar Plant began construction in January 2014 and remains on track to be fully operational next month. The two plants, worth $440 million combined are being constructed with $166.7 million funding support from the ARENA and $64.9 million from the NSW Government. When completed the two plants will be Australia’s largest utility-scale solar projects. 

About AGL 

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies and is the largest ASX listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. 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 solar, hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for investors, communities and customers. 

About the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) 
ARENA was established by the Australian Government to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects, supports research and development activities, boosts job creation and industry development, and increases knowledge about renewable energy. ARENA is currently supporting more than 200 projects and is actively seeking new projects to support. Visit www.arena.gov.au  

About NSW Government support for renewable energy 
The NSW Government supports the development and uptake of renewable energy in the state. The NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan is the main driver for increasing the uptake of renewable energy in the state. The Plan’s three goals and 24 actions  support the Government is committed to a secure, reliable, affordable and clean energy future for households and businesses in NSW and the national Renewable Energy Target. The NSW Regional Clean Energy Program (RCEP) and the Renewable Energy Advocate 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.   

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