ARM Purification

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15 October 2015

First Solar installs final module at Broken Hill Solar Plant in New South Wales

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has installed the final modules at the 53MW Broken Hill Solar Plant in New South Wales (NSW) Australia, which is on schedule to be fully operational by the end of the year. Together with the 102MW Nyngan Solar Plant, Australia's two largest utility-scale solar plants will produce about 360,000MWh of electricity annually (enough to power 50,000 average Australian homes).

To date, 677,760 of First Solar's PV modules have been installed. "By combining industry-leading thin-film modules and construction techniques, this project demonstrates First Solar's capability to rapidly develop and construct a solar asset at competitive prices," says Jack Curtis, First Solar's regional manager for Asia Pacific, who adds that the plant's CdTe modules offer significant efficiency and reliability advantages over typical crystalline silicon modules, particularly in a hot climate like Broken Hill.

In September, First Solar and project partners AGL Energy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government achieved first generation at the Broken Hill Solar Plant, with an initial 26MW feeding into the National Electricity Market.

"Just six months after Australia's largest solar plant at Nyngan was switched on, we are now another step closer to completing Australia's two largest utility-scale solar plants in the same year," says Curtis. "First Solar's delivery record has set an industry benchmark and this milestone reaffirms the prominent role utility-scale solar PV will continue to play in Australia's energy future," he believes.

"Today the plant generates up to 27MW of renewable energy into the grid and the remaining 26MW is expected to be brought online this month," notes Doug Jackson, AGL's executive general manager Group Operations. "Renewable technology like our Broken Hill Solar Plant and its sister plant at Nyngan play an important part in AGL's transition towards a decarbonized economy. Broken Hill will contribute to the more than 1900MW of renewable capacity AGL currently has in operation or under development," he adds.  

"There is a real sense of momentum driving large-scale solar in Australia today," comments ARENA's acting CEO Ian Kay. "The Broken Hill and Nyngan solar plants are already supplying power to Australian homes and we now have $350m available through ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will further accelerate growth in the sector."  

First Solar has provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for both the Broken Hill and Nyngan Solar Plants, and will provide maintenance services for five years once operational. These plants are supported by $166.7m in funding from ARENA and $64.9m from the NSW Government.

See related items:

First Solar breaks ground on AGL's 102MW Nyngan Solar Project in New South Wales

First Solar contracts IXL to supply framing system for AGL's New South Wales projects

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

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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