Solar farm to bring 330 jobs to shire

Renewable energy company RES’s Emerald Solar Farm in Queensland. RES are planning something similar for Avonlie near Narrandera.

The project development manager of a new solar farm in Avonlie said he expects the project to bring around 330 jobs to Narrandera Shire.

Avonlie is one of three towns in the shire – along with Yarabee and Sandigo – where solar farms are planned for construction in 2019.

Renewable energy developer RES hopes to receive planning consent to get their Avonlie solar farm off the ground by January 2019.

Mike Whitbread, project development manager, highlighted the benefits of the solar farm for the community.

“The project will generate around 200 direct jobs during construction and around 130 indirect supply chain jobs. In addition, it will employ approximately three to four full time staff during the operation and maintenance phase (expected to be 25-30 years),” Mr Whitbread said.

“The employment benefits extend through the local supply chains to fuel supply, vehicle servicing, uniform suppliers, hotels, motels, B&B’s, cafés, pubs, catering and cleaning companies, tradespersons, tool and equipment suppliers and many other businesses”.

Mr Whitbread also said the community is receiving a direct financial windfall.

“RES has committed to supporting the community with a one off payment of $250,000 into a Community fund at the start of construction of the project.

This community fund is aimed at facilitating local projects that are benefitting the local community… or supporting aspects of the local environment whilst promoting the principles of sustainable development”.

Mr Whitbread said the main beneficiary will be the environment, with the solar farm saving 158,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. RES expects construction to commence in the middle of 2019 and to take around 18 months.

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