The Nyngan Solar Plant’s viewing platform was officially opened during a ceremony held at the plant in western New South Wales (NSW) on Monday 27 June 2017.
AGL General Manager Gas and Renewables, Colin Mills accompanied the NSW Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities, and the Arts, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, at the ceremony along with NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW, The Hon. Benjamin Franklin MLC, Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) Chairman Tom Parry and PARF colleagues, Bogan Shire Mayor, Ray Donald, AGL Renewables Manager, Simon Kelley, and First Solar Senior Manager – Asset Management and Operations & Maintenance Aaron Hawkins.
AGL Renewables Manager Simon Kelley said: “We’re proud to deliver on our commitment of building the viewing platform as a legacy to support tourism in the local community.
“The 102MW Nyngan solar plant is the largest in Australia. With 1.3 million solar panels, covering 250 hectares, which is equivalent to 134 Sydney Cricket Grounds, it is an impressive site. We understand it is becoming a popular destination for tourists which will have economic flow on benefits for the local region.
“The viewing platform took approximately six months to build with materials and services provided from the local region. The elevated, covered viewing platform gives a great vantage point from which to view the expansive solar plant. It also houses information about the solar plant to help educate visitors,” said Mr Kelley.
“Nyngan was the first utility scale solar plant developed by AGL and added to our credentials as Australia’s largest non-government owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation with over 1,900 MW of renewable capacity currently in operation. We are in the process of constructing the 200 MW Silverton Wind Farm in NSW and just received approval to develop the 460 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm in Queensland, which will be Australia’s largest wind farm,” said Mr Kelley.
Also joining the special guests at the ceremony were local contractors who built the viewing plant, Indigenous Concepts and Networking (ICaN) Program Manager, Robert Riley, representatives of Nyngan Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), and the Nyngan Garden Club, as well as students from local schools including Nyngan Public, Nyngan High, St Joseph’s Primary and Hermidale Public.
Those attending were treated to an aboriginal dance performance by children from Nyngan public school and an information session of the solar plant’s new Bush Tucker Garden conducted by ICaN’s Robert Riley, who designed the garden to feature edible, native plants sourced from the local region.
The Nyngan solar plant provides enough clean solar energy to power 33,000 average Australian homes and displace over 203,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year; that’s the equivalent of taking over 53,000 cars off the road annually.
Nyngan and the Broken Hill solar plants were sold into the PARF in November last year as seed assets for the Fund and in January 2017 the PARF acquired the Silverton Wind Farm. The PARF is a landmark partnership established by AGL with equity partner QIC and its clients the Future Fund and the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund and which aims to generate 1000 MW of renewable energy — enough to power another 530,000 average Australian homes annually.