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Solar project contractor revealed

Friday, 29th November, 2013

By Erica Visser

An Australian company has been chosen to build AGL’s Broken Hill and Nyngan solar plants.

AGL’s project engineer, First Solar Pty Ltd, announced this week that IXL Group would start construction on the $450 million project early next year.

The work is expected to create 150 construction jobs in Broken Hill and around 300 more in Nyngan.

Work will begin in Nyngan in January and move on to Broken Hill in July.

A spokeswoman for AGL yesterday said it was happy that an Australian company was picked for the job.

“AGL is pleased to see IXL Group... awarded the contract for supply of major structural components associated for the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plants,” she said yesterday.

“AGL has a preference for using local companies where possible and is encouraged to see these local companies embracing this opportunity.  

“The delivery of large scale renewable developments, such as the AGL Energy Solar Project, does provide an opportunity for the development of new skills and capabilities within existing Australian manufacturing industry.”

The spokeswoman told the BDT that most of the 450 workers would be hired locally. 

“Once completed, both solar plants will realise a $300 million investment from AGL, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government will be the largest solar power project in the Southern Hemisphere delivering a total capacity of 155 MW of power for NSW,” she said.

“Nyngan Solar Plant is expected to be fully operational by June 2014 and Broken Hill Solar Plant by November 2015.”

IXL Group has been in Geelong for more than 150 years and has worked in car manufacturing and in the mining, heating and cooling industries.

The company would be in charge of building the framing system for the project, which would require around 6000 tonnes of steel. 

IXL did similar work last year on a Western Australian solar farm, where First Solar was also contracted.

The WA project, Greenough River Solar Farm, is the biggest in the country but will be overtaken by the local project.

“First Solar selected the IXL Group for this important contract because of the company’s proven experience and reliability in successfully delivering the framing system,” First Solar Vice President of Business Development Jack Curtis said.

Mr Curtis said that it was cheaper to use the company than import parts from overseas.

The framing systems will be put together in Adelaide and transferred to Nyngan and Broken Hill on road trains.

The solar plants are expected to generate enough electricity to power 50,000 average homes.

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