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New solar farm raises renewable energy profile

New solar farm raises renewable energy profile

Swan Hill Rural City Council has welcomed today’s announcement that a $32 million solar farm will be built at Swan Hill’s Blackwire Reserve, starting next month.

It will be one of the highest capacity solar farms in Victoria on completion, generating up to 19MW of power and returning it to the local grid.

Australian funds manager Impact Investment Group will partner with Victorian-based company Australia Solar Group (ASG), RCR Infrastructure, Powercor and the State Government to complete the development, with support from Swan Hill Rural City Council.

Cr Les McPhee said the new solar farm was a big investment into the region’s potential for renewable energy.

“It’s a significant project, not only in terms of economic benefit and local job creation but also in the flow-on business development opportunities,” Cr McPhee said.

“We all know the Swan Hill region is blessed with an abundance of sunshine and securing a significant solar farm for the area adds an important, sustainable industry to our region,” he said.

The development includes almost 50,000 solar panels that will align with the path of the sun. Construction will take six to eight months, with about 60 jobs created during that construction. The first power is expected to be produced early next year.

“This will be one of the highest capacity solar farms in Victoria to date, and with other solar projects already earmarked around the municipality, our region is becoming recognised as a place of choice for renewable energy in Australia,” Cr McPhee said.

ASG co-founder David Holland said a key focus for ASG and construction partner RCR Infrastructure was to develop working relationships with the local community and business networks.

“We have already developed a strong relationship with Council, which has assisted us throughout the entire process,” Mr Holland said.

“Now we want to get to know the wider local community and businesses. Our objective is to leverage local experience and resources of local contractors and suppliers, especially during the implementation and construction phases of the project,” he said.

To update the local community and business sector on the project, RCR Infrastructure, which will be responsible for construction and maintenance of the plant, will host a public information session on 17 August at the Swan Hill Region Information Centre, on the corner of McCrae and Curlewis streets, from 6pm.

More details about how local businesses can get involved in the project will be available at the meeting.