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ARENA announces groundbreaking for Australia’s largest solar farm & opening of QLD solar panel coating facility

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has welcomed the passage of important milestones for 2 projects in its portfolio: Groundbreaking at the Nyngan Solar Farm in NSW and a the opening of a ‘pilot-scale’ production facility for applying an innovative, Australian-developed anti-reflective coating to solar panels. 

The 102 megawatt (MW) Nyngan Solar Farm, actually one half of a single massive project divided between Nyngan and Broken Hill, NSW, will be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Australia once up and running. In addition to funding from ARENA, the project has also benefitted from the support of the NSW government. It is also the first of two Solar Flagships projects to near the operational stage.

ARENA congratulated the developers of the project, AGL, on the commencement of construction of the plant in a media statement released today. Looking beyond just the environmental benefits that the Nyngan plant promised–namely, the production of enough clean electricity to power over 33,000 Australian homes–ARENA head Mr Ivor Frischknecht highlighted the fact that the project would also be a boon to the local economy and Australia’s burgeoning cleantech industry. The project will create 300 construction jobs, and “[t]he transfer of skills and experience to the local labour market will provide a boost to the local community and beyond as well as benefit the solar industry and the Australian economy”. The remainder of the project is due to get underway in July of this year.

He was similarly positive about a pilot-scale facility in Darra, Queenland that will apply cost-effective, high-quality anti-reflective coating to solar panels which opened yesterday. The plant will use technology developed by Brisbane Materials Technology Pty Ltd. “Today’s opening of the Brisbane Materials pilot-scale plant demonstrates what can be achieved when industry, universities and government work together to progress forward-looking, exportable processes and products,” Mr Frischknecht said.

ARENA is currently in the sights of the new Australian federal government, which since coming into office has made moves to dismantle many of the clean energy and climate-focused programs implemented under Labour.

Top image: Nyngan Solar Farm project site, via ARENA

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