Australia’s largest solar plant achieves full generation – 102MW

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AGL’s Nyngan solar PV plant – Australia’s largest – has achieved full generation, sending 102MW to the grid, and is expected to fully operational in July.

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Australia’s largest solar farm, the AGL Energy-owned 102MW Nyngan Solar Plant in western New South Wales is set to become fully operational in a matter of weeks after achieving the milestone of full generation on Tuesday.

nyngan solar 25MW

AGL said the solar farm, construction of which was completed in mid-April, had successfully completed testing, and was given the green light by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the local distributor to start sending the full amount of its 102MW electricity generation capacity to the grid – enough to power 33,000 homes a year.

“This is a great achievement for the largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant ever built in Australia,” said AGL Project Manager for both the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plants, Adam Mackett. “We will now be conducting final commissioning and testing ahead of the plant being fully operational next month.

Ivor Frischknecht, the CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – which helped AGL fill the funding gaps for the $300 million project, along with the NSW Government ($64.9 million) – said the plant’s achievement was a milestone for the Australian solar industry.

“This new Australian record sends a strong signal to the energy industry that utility-scale solar PV plants can be constructed on time and on budget,” said Frischknecht, adding that it would greatly increase market confidence in future solar PV projects, bringing down the cost of planning, construction and finance.

This is how it looked when the added capacity was introduced over the weekend.

nyngan growth

And this is how it sits in context with other generation. Go to our NEM-Watch widget to see more.

nem watch large solar nyngan

AGL’s 140 hectare Broken Hill plant has also reached a significant construction milestone, AGL said, with the installation of more than one-third of its 650,000 PV modules, keeping the project on schedule.

All told, Broken Hill and Nyngan will have a combined capacity of 155MW, a good number for AGL to begins its long transformation to decarbonise its electricity.

Total capital expenditure for the two projects is approximately $440 million – $166.7 million was provided by ARENA.

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4 Comments
  1. David K Clarke 4 years ago

    A minor point, and only tangentially related to the main story, but I’ve never understood why the statement “enough to power 33,000 homes a year” rather than just “enough to power 33,000 homes”? We see similar statements fairly frequently.

    • Gordon 4 years ago

      It’s an erroneous statement, often repeated in renewable energy stories. It’s almost as if they have to build the solar power station again next year to get another year’s worth of energy! 😉 More correct would be to say: enough to power 33000 homes for at least the next 20 years, at current average household energy demand.

    • WR 4 years ago

      I’d imagine they use it because they are basing their statement on the average annual amount of energy produced.

    • Mortimer Snerd 4 years ago

      It’s because it can’t power 33,000 homes at any given time. You’re confusing installed capacity with delivered power.

      According to ABS, an average Aussie home uses 6.4 MWh per year, so 33,000 homes is 211 GWh per year.

      The installed capacity of the Nyngan Solar plant is 102 MW. In one year, at 100% capacity factor, it should be able to produce 894 GWh, but obviously it can’t due to the limitations of available sunlight.

      So if it can power 33,000 homes, 211 GWh, it has an efficiency of 24% which is quite good for solar power and is related to the latitude.

      102 MW of coal or gas (which run at 90% CF) would produce 804 GWh of electricity or enough to power 125,700 homes in a year which is why coal is being used world wide and will always be used world wide.

      I am an Environmental Realist in the vein of Patrick Moore and Bjorn Lomborg.

      There is a place for solar and wind energy, but it will not replace base load power – it just can’t – due to intermittency.

      We should be looking to nuclear power for low emission Base Load power.

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