A proposed solar project in the Wellington district would power up the local economy and spark environmental gains, its proponent says.
Photon Energy has confirmed it is planning solar farms at three locations - Mumbil, Maryvale and Suntop.
It anticipates the construction phase would employ about 100 people for each project and that there would also be ongoing jobs once the farms were established.
Construction is subject to state government planning approval and there’s still a number of stages to tackle, however, Photon Energy would like the projects to be completed in 2019.
Agricultural activities would be able to continue when the solar farms were operational, the company told the Wellington Times.
Under its plan, the installations would combine photovoltaic systems with sheep grazing meaning the land would continue to be used for agricultural use.
Photon Energy reports it will be working with local farmers to develop pasture plans for the coexistence of energy and food production.
The company has invited feedback from the community and reports the Wellington region offers great proximity to workforce for site construction, ongoing operations and contracting.
“There will be ongoing jobs in repairs and maintenance as well as land management,” Photon Energy managing director Michael Gartner said.
“Benefits will flow right through the region and where possible we want to use local contractors and labour.
"The Wellington region is a great part of NSW and we are looking forward to working with the communities around Mumbil, Maryvale and Suntop on the development of these solar farms.
“We have commenced community consultation and we want to hear from you directly."
The firm that calls itself a “clean and green company” reports the sites will provide enough electricity to power about 190,000 homes and will save more than 930,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
The sites have been chosen because they provide easy access to pre-existing high voltage power lines that run through these properties, Photon Energy reports.
In addition, each site receives great amounts of sunlight, is relatively flat and has few sources of shading.
They also have minimum impacts on neighbours, Photon Energy reports.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment confirmed it had received a request for Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the Suntop Solar Farm.
The proposal is for a 220 megawatt solar farm that would be located north-west of Wellington, a department spokeswoman said.
The department has sought input into the SEARs from relevant regulatory agencies and Dubbo Regional Council, and issued the SEARs on September 21, she said.
Photon Energy says it is keen to hear from the community during its own consultation period, and people can email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or via www.photonenergy.com.au