It’s the largest solar farm in NSW and it’s right by Coleambally.
The solar farm, which is expected to power 65,000 homes upon its completion, was officially on Wednesday at the newly-cleared site.
It’s estimated the construction will take around eight months and create around 300 jobs during development, with seven ongoing positions for the farm’s maintenance and operation.
Murrumbidgee Mayor Ruth McRae said an investment of its size did more than just boost the town’s economy.
“The economic benefit is significant, but it also raises the profile of the Murrumbidgee Council area,” she said.
“It demonstrates that we’re willing to step up to the plate and maximise any opportunity comes our way.”
Power is a driving force behind industry. If we don’t make a contribution toward making power affordable, we we will all struggle to attract industry.”
The investment sees 565,000 solar panels installed on 550 hectares of land.
Franck Woitiez, Managing Director of Neoen Australia said the community had been nothing but supportive of the initiative.
“We’ve had tremendous support from the community. Most of the concerns were voiced out of curiosity,” he said.
“The economic benefits will be visible during the life of the farm, but especially during construction in 2018 some local businesses may see major benefits. The pubs, hotels and accommodation could see their business grow.”
The 150 megawatt farm and those like it have the potential to be driving forces in lowering the cost of electricity across the state.
“This solar farm is going to contribute significantly to the electricity grid in NSW,” Mr Woitiez said.
“Solar and wind are really the future of what our energy system will be. The cost of construction has dropped significantly in the last few years. It’s the most competitive source of electricity.”
A number of community meetings have been held in Coleambally and Murrumbidgee Council have created a database of businesses to register their services.
The project was first floated in March 2017 when French renewable energy producer, Neoen, announced the deal in partnership with energy retailer, Energy Australia.
EnergyAustralia has also committed to buy 100 megawatts of renewable energy from the solar farm through a 12-year power purchase agreement.
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