Townsville’s newest large-scale solar plant, the Ross River Solar Farm, has begun initial site preparation works.

Construction of the 148 megawatt (MW) solar farm, located 20km south of Townsville, Queensland, is expected to begin in September 2017.

Project Director, Lyndon Frearson, said priority tasks before construction begins were the creation of a new site road entry, installation of perimeter fencing, and setup 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 labourers will be required on-site and every effort will be made to employ local labour where it makes sense to do so.

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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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 and Construction (EPC) contractor.

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