NSW government approves 50MW Broken Hill project

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The government of New South Wales in Australia has approved plans to build a 50MW PV facility, called Broken Hill, which will be located around five kilometres from Broken Hill in New South Wales.

Although the project has been approved, the approval is subject to a number of conditions including an obligation to minimise harm to the environment.

Australian renewable energy developer AGL Energy Limited will develop, own, and manage the project. First Solar will provide EPC services and also maintain the plant for five years after commercial operation starts.

The project will cost almost A$200 million (US$209 million) and will be financed by the Australian government and the NSW government. The Australian government will provide A$129.7 million while the NSW government will provide A$64.9 million.

The Broken Hill project has been under development since 2012 while construction has been slated to commence in 2014. Commercial operation is scheduled to begin at the end of 2015 and the plant is expected to operate for at least 30 years.

AGL estimates that up to 150 direct local construction jobs will be created in Broken Hill during the 17-month construction period.

The Broken Hill facility will occupy approximately 200 hectares of land and house more than 650,000 First Solar advanced CdTe thin-film modules. The modules will be installed at a fixed tilt, at a 25 degree angle, and will face north.

The solar plant will be connected to the grid via a 22kV transmission line that connects into the existing Broken Hill substation.

It is expected to generate approximately 125,000MWh of solar power each year, which will be enough electricity to meet the needs of over 17,000 average New South Wales households. 

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