First Solar says AGL Energy Ltd. (AGL) has secured financing for two utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in Australia for which First Solar has contracted to perform engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.
In addition to EPC services, First Solar will supply the projects with its thin-film PV. The company will also provide five years of maintenance support once the solar farms are operational.
AGL has engaged First Solar to construct a 102 MW solar plant at Nyngan and a 53 MW solar project at Broken Hill, both located in New South Wales (NSW). The projects are supported by $166.7 million of Commonwealth Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as well as an additional $64.9 million in funding from the NSW government. The total project cost is approximately $450 million.
‘The Nyngan and Broken Hill solar projects will be Australia's largest utility-scale solar projects,’ says Jack Curtis, First Solar's vice president of business development for the Asia Pacific region. ‘These projects will play an important part in the growing acceptance of utility-scale solar PV, and we applaud the commonwealth government and the NSW government for their vision and commitment to the sector.’
Construction of the Nyngan project is expected to commence in January 2014, with commercial operation expected by mid-2015. First Solar says construction of the Broken Hill project will start in July 2014, with the facility scheduled to reach commercial operation before the end of 2015. On completion, the projects are expected to produce approximately 360 GWh of electricity each year.