A project in the Australian Outback that will more than double the country's large-scale solar output should begin generating its initial power as early as this week, according to First Solar Inc.
The A$290 million ($220 million) Nyngan solar plant in New South Wales state will start at 25MW before increasing to full capacity of 102MW, said Jack Curtis, Asia-Pacific manager at First Solar, a partner in the project led by AGL Energy Ltd. The plant will be fully operational by July, Sydney-based AGL said last week.
"What was really constraining the large-scale solar market was the fact that it just hadn't been done before, so there was a lot of misconception around the execution and cost challenges," Curtis said. "It can only get more efficient."
Combined, the Nyngan and Broken Hill projects are estimated to cost about A$440 million, with the Australian and state governments providing A$232 million in funding. They will produce enough energy to supply more than 50,000 homes in New South Wales, according to AGL's website.