First Solar, Inc. has awarded a contract to the IXL Group (IXL) of companies based in Geelong to manufacture and deliver the framing system for the 155 MW (AC) utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects at Nyngan and Broken Hill in New South Wales. AGL engaged First Solar to construct the solar projects which are expected to produce approximately 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year — enough to meet the needs of over 50,000 average homes in NSW.
In 2012, IXL successfully 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 been able to benefit from the experience with this first project to provide First Solar a cost effective Australian manufactured framing capability with a relatively shorter supply chain. The framing system for the Nyngan and Broken Hill projects will require approximately 6000 tonnes of Australian made steel.
Various companies in the IXL Group will contribute to the project, which at its peak will create approximately 40 additional jobs within the IXL Group. 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 also will have a positive impact on ancillary companies in Geelong and Victoria more generally, as tooling and a roll forming line for this project will be sourced from Victorian suppliers.
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.
The IXL Group looks forward to developing a close and constructive relationship with the community in Adelaide.