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21 November 2013

First Solar contracts IXL to supply framing system for AGL’s New South Wales projects

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic modules First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has awarded a contract to the IXL Group of companies based in Geelong, Australia to manufacture and deliver the framing system for the 155MWAC utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects at Nyngan and Broken Hill in New South Wales (NSW). Sydney-based AGL Energy Ltd (Australia’s largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets) engaged First Solar to construct the solar projects, which are expected to produce about 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year (enough to meet the needs of over 50,000 average homes in NSW).

In 2012, IXL manufactured and delivered the framing system for the 10MW Greenough River Solar Farm (GRSF) in Western Australia, which was also constructed by First Solar. Until now, GRSF was the largest solar project completed in Australia. IXL has benefited from the experience with that first project to provide First Solar an Australian-manufactured framing capability with a relatively short supply chain. The framing system for the Nyngan and Broken Hill projects will require about 6000 tonnes of Australian-made steel.

“Our continued selection of local supply chain providers validates the economic viability of producing solar components in Australia and will continue to help support Australian industry and job creation,” says Jack Curtis, First Solar's VP of business development for Asia Pacific. “Partnering with IXL will further enable First Solar to reduce the cost of delivering solar power to the Australia market through the efficiencies that come from working on multiple projects.”

Various companies in the IXL Group will contribute to the project, which at its peak will create about 40 additional jobs within IXL. Backwell IXL in Geelong will be responsible for a range of components to be used in the framing system, as well as building much of the manufacturing infrastructure. These activities will also have a positive impact on ancillary companies in Geelong and Victoria more generally, as tooling and a roll forming line for the project will be sourced from suppliers in Victoria.

IXL Solar will assemble the framing systems in Adelaide, and ship the completed frames to site using road trains. Generally, framing system suppliers need to assemble product in locations that are relatively close to installation sites. The Adelaide assembly location helps First Solar to substantially reduce its project freight costs. Assembly locations for other future projects will be based on the requirements of those projects.

“This is a very important step in the development of our solar business,” comments IXL Solar’s general manager Claude Dagescy. “We look forward to working with First Solar on the Nyngan and Broken Hill projects and beyond, and believe that Australian-made framing systems can be more than competitive with imports.”

See related items:

First Solar to deliver 155MW of solar power projects in New South Wales for Australia’s AGL

Western Australia’s first large-scale solar project officially opened

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

Visit: www.ixl.com.au

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