A $164 million solar farm for Wagga is expected to provide a surge in business.
According to documents submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment, Renew Estate’s multi-million dollar project would feature 400,000 solar panels on 276 hectares at Bomen. Once completed, the solar farm could generate up to 120 megawatts of electricity, which Renew Estate claims could power 35,000 homes.
The panels would be mounted on tracking frames, meaning they could be rotated to follow the sun throughout the day. The power would be sent to the grid via a 3.5 kilometre line, while adjacent businesses may be able to directly tap into the supply.
If approved, construction could begin within six months, taking up to 12 months and employing 200 workers. Five full-time jobs were expected to be created once construction was complete.
Project co-ordinator Chris Fitzpatrick said there were flow-on effects for the entire city.
“This is a big ticket item and there will be considerable money into the local economy beyond the solar farm,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “Accommodation, food, labour, taxis, trucks, anything you can think of, local businesses will tap into the construction and that will be a big boost to the city.”
In addition to the jobs during and after construction, Mr Fitzpatrick said the solar farm had the potential to attract businesses to Bomen.
“Wagga will be able to attract bigger industries to tap into a cheaper energy supply,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “Solar generates power during peak demand for business (and) for Teys, Robe, one of their biggest costs is their energy supply. This gives Wagga a source of power generated on our doorstep.”
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said the huge investment was a big show of confidence.
“This will be one of the bigger solar farms around and it’s right next door to the Bomen industrial park, so it’s very well located as far as that’s concerned,” Cr Conkey said. “It’s one of a number of solar farms people are looking at and something council will be looking at as well. We need to look at our energy consumption and I’ve been a strong advocate for council owning an energy farm, we need to seriously look at opportunities for council there.”