Australia’s biggest solar energy plants have been given the funding go-ahead, clearing the way for the installation of 2 million photovoltaic panels at two sites in the NSW outback.

Power company AGL on Wednesday committed to proceed with the $450 million investment in the plants which will supply 50,000 homes with electricity and potentially pave the way for more such ventures.

Nyngan, north-west of Dubbo, will host the larger of the two plants, with a 102-megawatt capacity, while a 53-megawatt plant will be built near Broken Hill. Both should be supplying power to the eastern Australian grid by the end of 2015.

All up, the two sites will cover 375 hectares or about 185 times the playing surface of the  Sydney Cricket Ground.

"The scale of it is truly awesome," said Mark Butler, federal minister for climate change. "This project is 15 times larger than any other solar power station in Australia."