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31 July 2013

First Solar to deliver 155MW of solar power projects in New South Wales for Australia’s AGL

Sydney-based AGL Energy Ltd (Australia’s largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets) has achieved financial close for two utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects for which cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has been contracted to supply engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services. First Solar will also provide maintenance support for a period of five years once the solar farms are operational.

AGL has engaged First Solar to construct a 102MW[AC] solar plant at Nyngan and a 53MW solar project at Broken Hill – both located in New South Wales (NSW). The projects are supported by $166.7m of Commonwealth Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as well as an additional $64.9m in funding from the NSW Government. The total project cost is about $450m.

“The Nyngan and Broken Hill solar projects will be Australia’s largest utility-scale solar projects, respectively, and demonstrate that utility-scale solar is a proven, bankable source of power generation in Australia today,” says Jack Curtis, First Solar’s VP of business development for Asia Pacific. “These projects will play an important part in the growing acceptance of utility-scale solar PV.”

Construction of the Nyngan project is expected to start in January 2014, for commercial operation by mid-2015. Construction of the Broken Hill project will start about six months later, in July 2014, and is scheduled to reach commercial operation before the end of 2015. On completion, the projects are expected to produce about 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year (sufficient to meet the needs of over 50,000 average homes in NSW).

The solar plants are expected to add nearly 2% to the gross regional product of both the Nyngan and Broken Hill communities. First Solar says that, with over 100 local contractors attending the recent subcontractor forums hosted in Dubbo, Nyngan and Cobar, it is actively engaged with local companies looking to become involved in the projects. The projects will create about 300 construction jobs in Nyngan and 150 in Broken Hill, providing experience and the capability to support the development of similar projects in future years.

“Together, we will provide the experience and commercial stability to help ensure the successful construction of the two solar plants,” says AGL’s managing director Michael Fraser.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

Visit: www.agl.com.au

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