Initial site preparation works are starting at the $225 million Ross River Solar Farm site, Townsville’s newest large scale solar plant.
Construction of the 148 megawatt (MW) solar farm, located 20 kilometres south of Townsville, is expected to begin in September.
Project Director, Lyndon Frearson, said priority tasks before construction commences were the creation of a new site road entry, installation of perimeter fencing and set up of a site office and facilities for the construction team.
Construction of the solar farm is expected to be completed within 12 months. At peak construction, a workforce of around 250 contractors and laborers will be required on-site and every effort will be made to employ local labour where it makes sense to do so.
“Recruitment is happening now to ensure we have a pool of appropriately skilled local workers to work alongside our specialist project team and operations staff. Individuals or companies that would like to understand the opportunities for Australian Industry can contact us via the website,” Mr Frearson said.
Neighbours adjacent to the project have also been notified with the project team posting its first ‘Community Update’ to over 3000 homes and businesses last month. The project also has a website, www.rossriversolarfarm.com.au
“We’re putting in place a number of strategies to prevent or reduce some of the less desirable consequences of major construction works like traffic delays, noise and dust,” Mr Frearson said.
“We’re not taking shortcuts when it comes to resident engagement, this will be a priority to ensure those living closest to the site experience minimal impact.”
The project has also set up a telephone hotline to respond to community enquiries during construction – 0475 802 063.
A total of 417,600 polycrystalline solar panels are being procured for the project and will be delivered via containers in stages to the Port of Townsville.
The solar panels will be attached to a ground-mounted single axis tracking system that will slowly track the daily movement of the sun, maximising the amount of energy the solar farm generates. The solar farm will produce enough clean electricity to power approximately 54,000 homes.
Australian-based solar developer, ESCO Pacific, and specialist independent infrastructure manager, Palisade Investment Partners, are working in partnership to deliver the Ross River Solar project.
Downer Utilities has been appointed as the Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contractor.