Another giant step for large-scale solar

An Australian landmark is on the cusp of completion, with the installation of the final solar panel at the Broken Hill Solar Plant, off the Barrier Highway in New South Wales.

ARENA, AGL and First Solar joined NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts, and state Minister for Environment and Heritage Mark Speakman onsite to see the last of 677,760 solar panels installed in October.

Acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay congratulated AGL and First Solar on the milestone, saying there is now a real sense of momentum driving large-scale solar in Australia.

“The Broken Hill and Nyngan solar plants are already supplying power to Australian homes and we now have $350 million available through ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will further accelerate growth in the sector,”
Mr Kay said.

“Large-scale solar has a vital role to play in Australia’s energy mix. ARENA’s $100 million large-scale solar round is well positioned to harness our world-class solar resource and double the capacity of our nation’s large-scale solar by encouraging investment, reducing finance costs and building robust supply chains.

“There has been serious interest in the round. We look forward to taking strong proposals forward and building on the achievements of AGL, First Solar and others.”

AGL executive general manager group operations Doug Jackson said the Broken Hill Solar Plant was currently generating up to 27MW of renewable energy into the grid and the remaining 26MW was expected to be brought online this month.

“Renewable technology, like our Broken Hill Solar Plant and its sister plant at Nyngan, plays an important part in AGL’s transition towards a decarbonised economy. Broken Hill will contribute to the more than 1900MW of renewable capacity AGL currently has in operation or under development,” Mr Jackson said.

Mr Kay said AGL and First Solar had skilfully demonstrated large-scale solar projects get easier with practice by applying learning from construction of the Nyngan sister plant at Broken Hill.

“ARENA has shared myriad of knowledge throughout the construction of both plants, from how to most effectively procure equipment to managing local supply chains. This invaluable information will give future large-scale solar projects a head start,” Mr Kay said.

“The $440 million AGL solar project is advancing large-scale solar energy expertise in Australia by constructing solar power stations in Nyngan and Broken Hill with $166.7 million ARENA support and $64.9 million NSW Government support.”