First Solar building 102 MW solar power project in Australia

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First Solar kicked off construction of a 102 MW utility-scale solar plant in Nyngan, New South Wales, Australia.

Less than six months after AGL Energy Limited achieved financial close for project, First Solar is breaking ground on the installation of about 1,350,000 advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules. Once installed, First Solar’s modules will generate clean, renewable energy with no emissions, waste or water consumption during operation.

In addition to construction, First Solar is also providing engineering and procurement services for the project and will provide maintenance services for a period of five years post commissioning. Expected to be completed in mid-2015, the project will produce 102 MWAC — enough electricity to power more than 33,000 average NSW homes. The solar energy supplied will abate more than 203,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of taking more than 53,000 cars off Australia’s roads.

First Solar expects to create an estimated 300 direct construction jobs during the building of the Nyngan solar plant. Additionally, the company is engaging with a number of local contractors and will make announcements as contracts are issued. In total, the Nyngan solar project is expected to add nearly 2 per cent to the gross regional product of the community.

The Nyngan solar plant is the first of two utility-scale solar projects to have received funding by the commonwealth government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW government. First Solar expects to commence construction of the second project in Broken Hill, NSW, in mid-2014.

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