WORK has begun on two large-scale solar farms just outside Collinsville, a community with coal dust in its DNA.
Roads are being constructed and fences are being installed on two neighbouring sites that will become the Daydream and Hayman Solar Farms.
Spread across 400ha they will be part of the larger Whitsunday Solar Farm and among Australia's largest solar farms, generating enough clean energy to supply 73,000 homes per year.
The Edify Energy and RCR Infrastructure-built projects are expected to be running about mid-next year.
RCR Infrastructure project developer Shane Melotte said the real action on site would start in the coming weeks.
"That's when we'll start to do more earthworks and driving in the steel piles, and then move to install the actual tracking systems and solar PV (photo voltaic) modules,” he said.
"And then, in parallel with that, (we'll) build an on-site zone sub station which can allow the project to be connected into the grid.”
The projects are expected to employ up to 200 people during construction and civil, electrical and labouring jobs could be filled by locals, depending on workforce availability.
Mr Melotte said the projects would inject economic investment into the region during construction, but would also have flow on effects once the farms were running.
"There will be a small number of ongoing operation and maintenance jobs,” he said.
"Other benefits are people like to come and see these projects, they attract visitors to the area and they become part of a tourist route.
"It can actually build local skills and expertise that people who are involved in delivering this project can apply with other solar farms going to be built in the region.
"This is one of the first of many solar farms to be built in the region as well as in Queensland and across Australia.”
Find out more at the community information night on October 19, from 6-8.30pm at 33 Conway St, Collinsville.
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