Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton says the landmark projects will make it easier for others to follow.
“Australia has some of the most intense sunshine in the world, and there is obviously an incredibly bright future for large-scale solar in this country,” Mr Thornton said. “The first time you build a new technology on a large scale such as this, a whole host of challenges and opportunities become apparent. Trail-blazing projects like AGL’s at Broken Hill and Nyngan make building the next generation of solar power plants cheaper and more efficient, and that’s great for the entire industry.
“The construction of these projects using First Solar technology created approximately 400 jobs and pumped almost $29 million straight into the local economies.”
The 102 MW Nyngan and the 53 MW Broken Hill solar plants are the two largest in the country, providing enough electricity for approximately 50,000 average Australian homes, according to the Clean Energy Council. Support from both the Federal Government and the NSW Government helped to make them viable.
Mr Thornton said large-scale solar is still evolving in Australia, which is why the support of organisations such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) remain crucial.
“ARENA’s support for emerging technologies plays a crucial role in driving innovation in Australia’s energy sector,” he said.
“Solar power is incredibly popular in Australia, and the landmark climate agreement reached in Paris late last year underlines the importance of renewable energy to help us reduce the emissions from our electricity sector.”