Graph of the Day: Sun shines on first week of Australia's biggest solar plant | RenewEconomy

Graph of the Day: Sun shines on first week of Australia’s biggest solar plant

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A chart reviewing the first week’s output from AGL’s Nyngan solar plant shows it has been regular as clockwork in its supply of electricity to the grid.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This past Saturday marked one week since Australia’s largest utility-scale solar PV plant – AGL Energy’s Nyngan solar plant in western NSW – began feeding power into the Australia’s main grid from its first 25MW of panels completed to date.

So what did the first week’s electricity generation profile look like? We’ve been documenting it through our live feed via NEM Watch, as you can see here. But the graph below, which shows a retrospective view of the past week, suggests the results have been pretty good.

The chart, taken from AGL’s Energy in Action blog, shows that the plant – or the completed section of it, which consists of approximately 350,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules – contributed a maximum of around 22MW to the NEM on its first day of operation. The following six days saw the plant regularly – and consistently – reach even a little beyond its nominal maximum capacity output of 25MW in the daylight hours between sunrise and sunset.

And, in the first week at least, it has been as regular as clockwork.

As the grid operator keeps on saying, variability is fine – it happens all the time with demand changes – but predictability is an asset.


And according to the latest NEM Watch update (see the chart below) the plant was already contributing 24MW into the market at the time of publishing. Click here to the see live update.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 10.51.51 AM

As we reported last week, the plant’s supplier, First Solar, will add four times that amount of generation, progressively over the next three months, as the remaining three sections of the plant are individually commissioned.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  1. Raahul Kumar 5 years ago

    I always thought AGL energy was a champion of coal. I’m impressed to see one of the big energy companies actually buying into solar.

    • Paul McArdle 5 years ago


      It’s just the two sides of the one coin:

      1) AGL is the largest emitter of carbon emissions in the NEM:

      2) But they might also be called the “greenest” by some measures as well.

      Perhaps this bundle just comes from being the biggest?

      This might be one example of where simplistic understandings risk being overly so, in a complex energy sector.


      PS more on Wattclarity later…

      • Raahul Kumar 5 years ago

        I dug up what Greenpeace had to say about the Big 3 Energy Retailers in Queensland.

        “AGL has significant investments in renewable energy but these are outweighed by a growing reliance uponcoal and gas. The company purchased the browncoal-fired Loy Yang A Power Station in 2012, oneof Australia’s dirtiest. While AGL is also building the biggest solar plant in the southern hemisphere at Nyngan, it is simultaneously pursuing the assets of one of Australia’s most greenhouse gas polluting corporations, Macquarie Generation.

        If AGL is successful in acquiring Macquarie Generation it will become the most polluting in Australia by far. AGL has called for the removal of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Target – the part of the target which supports rooftop solar panels and solar hot water – and has undermined support for the broader target by telling the current review panel that the target cannot be met”

        I’m with GreenPeace, AGL, in spite of building Australia’s largest solar plant, is an all around force for evil. Go with Diamond Energy instead if in Queensland.

        • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

          AGL will do whatever they think will make them the most money over the next seven years or so. This is unfortunate because when they continue to burn coal to make money they are stochastically killing people just as cigarette manufacturers stochastically kill people when they manufacture and distribute cigarettes. When done within the rules of law this stochastic killing of people is perfectly legal. But it’s not very nice. We have changed laws over time to reduce cigarette smoking and I think we are better off for it. If we’re not as stupid as I think we are we will change our laws to prevent stochastic killing from electricity generation. Fortunately AGL is not immune to consumer sentiment. Let them know you don’t approve of their fossil fuel generation. Who knows? You might save a life. In a stochastic sense.

          • Raahul Kumar 5 years ago

            AGL in my opinion is following a hedging strategy, which is intended to guarantee the survival of the company no matter what. If renewables tun out to be the future, AGL will survive while the other two big energy retailers hit the wall.

            The strong relationship between airpollution and deaths is well established by the World Health Organization, and it was established as far back as a century, when coal was first being burnt.


            AGL is knowingly and willfully continuing with an activity they know kills people, like the Cigarette and Asbestos industries. We need to see a James Hardy style class action lawsuit opened against these companies.

            I have let AGL know. I’ve already switched to Diamond Energy.

  2. Paul McArdle 5 years ago

    PS see more here in terms of how large-scale currently compares to small-scale solar PV:

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.