First Solar announced on Monday that they had broken ground on the Nyngan Solar Project in New South Wales, the largest utility-scale project in the country, only six months after AGL Energy closed the finances for the project.
The 250 hectare solar plant will consist of approximately 1,350,000 advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules, and upon completion will 102 MW — enough electricity to power more than 33,000 average NSW homes.
Completion of the project is expected sometime 2015, and will remove more than 203,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the system, the equivalent of taking 53,000 cars off Australian roads, according to First Solar.
“Breaking ground at the Nyngan solar project is a significant milestone for the advancement of Australia’s utility-scale solar industry,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Asia Pacific. “Each project that First Solar constructs builds acceptance of and confidence in utility-scale solar as an effective source of power generation in Australia. As the Nyngan project develops, we look forward to seeing its impact, not only in generating important local job opportunities, but also in strengthening the solar industry’s position within Australia’s energy mix.”
The Nyngan Solar Project will hopefully create an estimated 300 jobs during construction, and First Solar expect the project to add nearly 2% to the gross regional product of the local community. The project is also one of two utility-scale solar projects to have received funding by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Agency (ARENA) and the New South Wales Government. First Solar hope to begin construction on the second project, to be located in Broken Hill, NSW, sometime this year.