The Toowoomba Regional Council voted to approve the project late in 2016, and it will be located on a site approximately 45km West of Toowoomba. With this approval in place, the grid connection application was submitted to Ergon Energy on the 6th March 2017. This connection agreement will largely determine the timeframes of the project, but it is anticipated that construction of the project will begin this calendar year. Now begins the next phase of the project, where Yarranlea Solar will compile technical documents, finalise detailed designs, and organise the next relevant approvals including: landscaping designs for the buffer vegetation, plumbing and drainage works, roadworks, stormwater, and the construction environmental management plan (CEMP). All these applications and documents will be carefully considered and designed in accordance with the assessments available on the website, and the approval conditions imposed by Toowoomba Regional Council.
Once these have gone through, there will be a clearer picture on the time-frame for the beginning of construction works, and the contracting and employment opportunities that will stem from this. It is anticipated that there will be a need for approximately 200 jobs during construction period for professional staff, skilled and unskilled labour, which will be sourced from local and regional businesses. Closer to this time, Yarranlea Solar will be actively engaging with local communities to communicate the opportunities available, and will invite expressions of interest.
After providing an update to the project attending community members were invited to ask any questions they had.
The key points from the questions raised were:
- Approved to construct in 4 stages, though will likely do the whole project all at once
- Opportunity to run Dorper lambs on the site as a compatible agricultural activity, and a sustainable means of maintaining grass under and around the solar panels
- Will be a world class project using Tier 1 solar panels
- Will generate enough energy to power around 32,000 average homes
- A detailed glare assessment (as available on the website) has determined there will be no glare from to the panels to roads, houses, or the railway line
- Won’t impact others wanting to install solar on their own properties
It was deemed to be a successful evening, and Yarranlea Solar is thankful to all those who took the time to attend.
Environmental and Community Liaison Officer