Nyngan, Broken Hill win
$130m solar energy project
ONE of Australia’s largest solar projects is to be built across two sites at Nyngan and Broken Hill after AGL Energy and PV manufacturer First Solar were awarded a $130 million federal grant.
The $450 million project will generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes when completed by the end of 2015.
AGL Energy and First Solar were awarded the $130 million grant under the federal Government’s solar flagships program which supports the construction of large-scale, grid connected solar power stations.
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson re-opened first-round bidding in February after the consortium behind the initial winner – the Moree Solar Farm – proposed major changes to its project and failed to meet a December deadline to secure financial backing.
Mr Ferguson says the 159 megawatt project in Broken Hill and Nyngan represents excellent value for money and will ensure Australia brings industrial-scale solar power to market.
“At the end of the day it all comes down to cost and if large-scale solar is going to succeed in Australia it has to be cost competitive,” says Mr Ferguson.
The project is expected to create 150 jobs in Broken Hill and up to 300 in Nyngan during construction.
Mr Ferguson says a rigorous assessment process by the independent Solar Flagships Council found the AGL-First Solar bid had the highest level of merit overall ‘representing value-for-money, low risk and high commercial viability”.
But he notes all short-listed applicants, including the Moree Solar Farm, TRUenergy and Infigen-Suntech bids, were of “high merit” and will be referred to the new Australian Renewable Energy Agency for future funding consideration.