Up to 200 jobs will soon be created in Wagga as part of a solar farm and battery project valued at more than $20 million.
The five-megawatt farm is expected to run the Hammond Avenue plant of Riverina Water, potentially saving the company at least a million dollars on its yearly $3.5 million electricity bill.
"The more sun we get, the more power we get and the more money we save," said Riverina Water director of engineering Bede Spannagle.
"There are variables that mean we can't put an exact figure on what we'll be saving, but it will have to be about a million [annually] to make the project worthwhile."
Planning and design are expected to be completed by the end of June next year, with construction - where the bulk of the jobs will be created - to begin soon after.
"In terms of ongoing jobs, we're trying to make it as automated as possible, but there will probably be about five to 10 permanent jobs when it's finished," Mr Spannagle said.
The site for the two-hectare project is yet to be finalised.
Andrew Cottrill, regional manager for the Murray-Riverina chapter of the NSW Business Chamber, said the location will be very important.
"Wagga has amazingly productive agriculture land, so I'd be hoping this can be done in a way that incorporates agricultural needs, for example, if sheep could graze around the solar panels," he said.
Mr Cottrill is also urging the project to be "accelerated if possible" to bring forward job creation.
To combat the city's lack of sunlight during the winter months, Riverina Water is looking to invest in a storage battery to hold any excess energy generated in other seasons.
"Our demand [for water] is low in winter, it's usually only 25 megalitres a day but in summer that jumps up to 90 or 100 megalitres a day," Mr Spannagle said.
"We traditionally would pump water through the night when electricity is cheapest. But [once operational] we'll have to switch that thinking because the most productive time will be during the daylight hours."
Even though it will have the capacity to run entirely on the sun's energy, the plant will never be switched off from traditional power supplies.
"We won't ever be completely off the grid, that's too high a risk," Mr Spannagle said.
"The most important thing is that we'll always have water flowing to the community, even when the sun's not showing."