A 53MW solar power plant being built by First Solar for AGL Energy in New South Wales has marked the installation of its first PV modules, putting it on track to be completed by the end of the year.
The $150 million Broken Hill Solar Plant – the second of two plants AGL is building in NSW – is located south-west of Broken Hill, and will consist of over 650,000 PV modules covering an area of approximately 140 hectares.
“The plant is really starting to take shape with 100% of the steel posts and almost all of the tables, which hold the advanced thin-film PV modules, now in place,” said AGL project manager Adam Mackett.
“We currently have around 85 people working on site and more than 50% of them are from the local region. The workforce is expected to rise to approximately 150 people during peak construction,” he said.
The partner project to Broken Hill, AGL’s 102MW Nyngan Solar Plant (pictured below) in the state’s west, is Australia’s largest fully installed (but not yet fully operational) solar farm, which last month managed to double the nation’s big solar output when its second 25MW block of capacity was connected to the grid.
The two utility-scale plants, worth $440 million combined, are being constructed with $166.7 million in funding support from ARENA and $64.9 million from the NSW Government, as well as support from the local councils and communities.
Once fully operational, the Broken Hill plant will produce enough renewable energy to power 17,000 homes a year.
“It has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in NSW and a nearby existing substation for effective connection into the National Electricity Market,” said ARENA chief Ivor Frischknecht.