Solar plants large enough to power the Sydney suburb of Bondi 10 times over have been completed in western NSW.
Constructed by energy giant AGL and solar developer First Solar, the plants at Nyngan and Broken Hill will collectively produce 155 megawatts of electricity and power more than 50,000 homes.
The two plants, consisting of more than two million solar panels in total, are the largest and second largest solar plants in Australia respectively.
Combined, they cover 390 hectares of land, or almost 800 football fields.
The NSW government provided almost $65 million towards the two plants, while the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided more than $165 million.
NSW Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said the plants would provide local communities with affordable and sustainable energy for many years.
“Eight NSW solar farm projects have now been shortlisted for millions of dollars in funding under ARENA’s $100 million competitive funding round,” he said.
NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the state led the way in large-scale solar production.
“More than 320,000 NSW households and small businesses are now generating power from the sun, representing a $3 billion investment,” he said.
AGL estimate the plants will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of removing 82,000 cars from the road.
First Solar regional manager Jack Curtis said Australia was ideally placed to take advantage of utility-scale solar power as coal power plants are decommissioned.
“In many parts of the world, solar energy is already cost-competitive with conventional generation,” he said.