Testing has recently been completed on the new 120MW Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, allowing the farm to become commercially operational.
The new large-scale solar farm was built by Beon Energy Solutions (Beon) and is owned by Spark Infrastructure.
During the nine-month construction period, Beon invested over $13 million dollars directly into the local region, engaging more than 70 different businesses and providing significant local employment opportunities.
Beon’s General Manager, Glen Thomson, congratulated Spark Infrastructure, local workers and businesses that supported the construction on their commitment to reach the operational milestone.
“To complete the project on time in the current conditions speaks volumes of the efforts of so many local workers and businesses, and Beon is proud to have delivered such an important project for this region,” Mr Thomson said.
Beon maximised the benefit to the local community through a targeted training and employment program that supported people facing barriers to employment to gain employment in the construction of the solar farm.
Of the 150 local workers employed on the farm, 90 had been previously unemployed and included 38 Aboriginal workers and 18 women. In addition, 11 of these women participated in a ‘Women in Solar’ initiative and received pre-employment training and employment on the solar farm.
Mr Thomson said renewable energy projects continued to be a ‘win-win’ for both the economy and the environment.
“The Bomen Solar Farm is another great example of the way renewable energy projects are good for the environment and good for the local regions where they are being built,” Mr Thompson said.
Hayley Stear, one of the women involved in the Women in Solar program, said it was a positive experience.
“It’s given us all the courage to step out, because a lot of us have been unemployed and are single parents and this has taken us back to work and into society,” Ms Stear said.
Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga, Councillor Greg Conkey, OAM, said construction of the solar farm had provided many opportunities for local people which greatly benefited the local economy.
“Any initiative that provides local contractors and workers with employment opportunities cannot be understated,” Cr Conkey said.
“These projects are about injecting new money into the local economy. Any opportunity which provides jobs and cash flow for local businesses has direct and indirect flow on effects into our economy.”