Australian utility AGL’s 102MW solar PV plant, the largest in Australia, has reached full generation capacity and can power the equivalent of 33,000 homes per year.

The AUS$440 million (US$340 million) plant in Nyngan, New South Wales, is supplying energy to the National Electricity Market. It is funded by AUS$166.7 million (US$129 million) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and AUS$64.9 million (US$50 million) from the New South Wales Government.

The project, built in partnership with US thin-film producer First Solar, spans 250 hectares with 1.35 million installed PV modules.

AGL is now conducting final commissioning and testing ahead of the plant being fully operational later this year.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said the achievement was another critical step forward for large scale solar PV in Australia – adding: “This new Australian record sends a strong signal to the energy industry that utility-scale solar PV plants can be constructed on time and on budget.

“ARENA is pleased to support this landmark project, which will greatly increase market confidence in future solar PV projects, bringing down the cost of planning, construction and finance.”

In April AGL called on the country’s regional and local government to “set both binding and aspirational medium and long-term emission reduction targets”, while outlining its own commitments to carbon reduction.

First Solar and AGL are also collaborating on a 53MW Broken Hill solar project, also in New South Wales.