June 9, 2012 / 7:25 AM / 5 years ago

Australia to go ahead with A$450 million solar energy project

SYDNEY, June 9 (Reuters) - Australia will go ahead with a A$450 million ($446 million) large-scale solar energy project to be built at two sites in New South Wales state, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said on Saturday.

The 159 megawatt project will be undertaken by solar photovoltaic manufacturer First Solar and gas retailer AGL Energy and should be completed by the end of 2015, Ferguson said in a statement.

The project will benefit from a government grant of nearly A$130 million, announced on Saturday, and will be built at the inland towns of Broken Hill and Nyngan. It should produce enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes, the minister said.

Ferguson said the project represented excellent value for money, and said the cost of producing photovoltaic energy had gone down a lot. It was an opportunity to bring industrial scale solar energy to market, he said.

““At the end of the day it all comes down to cost, and if large scale solar is going to succeed in Australia it has to be cost competitive,” Ferguson said. (A$=$0.99)

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