First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) 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. “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 for the Greenough River Solar Farm,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Asia Pacific. “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. 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 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.