Solar forges forward
RES Australia has announced it has just passed the quarter-completion point on the construction of the Emerald Solar Park, which began in December.
RES Australia asset management services manager Tanya Jackson said the construction was 25 per cent complete and, so far, was going to plan.
The project is expected to generate around 150-200 jobs throughout the construction process, which is expected to wrap up in December 2018.
A number of significant local supplier contracts will also be let during the course of construction, further benefiting the local community.
In addition the project will employ up to three staff members during the 30 year operation and maintenance phase.
According to RES Australia, each non-local construction worker injects approximately $2500 a month in additional spending to the regional economy over the construction phase.
The 160 hectare park, being built on the west side of Emerald, will be one of the largest renewable energy sources in northern Australia with the installation of up to 275,000 solar panels.
Ms Jackson said the Emerald Solar Farm would abate nearly 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
When finished, the park was expected to provide up to 68 MWac of generation capacity into the Queensland grid, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of up to 35,000 households.
The project is enhancing both the economic and academic sides of the community.
The traditional owners of the Emerald Solar Farm are the Western Kangoulu People.
The project has contributed $50,000 to the Western Kangoulo scholarship program to support local indigenous students, who are interested in progressing vocational or tertiary education at Central Queensland University.