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Baralaba solar farm to generate jobs

BANANA Shire Council has approved the development of a solar farm at a site near Baralaba.

The construction phase of the project is estimated to create up to 150 jobs, with 2 or 3 permanent jobs remaining once development is complete.

FRV Solar, the Spanish company who will develop the site, says large-scale solar has the potential to contribute several thousand megawatts of capacity to Australia's energy mix.

"In particular, Queensland stands to benefit from the investment in large-scale solar due to its higher electricity demand growth and high solar irradiance," said FRV Australia spokesperson Killian Wentrup.

The development would occur on 688 hectares of what is currently cattle grazing land at Kokotungo, near Baralaba.

Hundreds of photovoltaic solar panels would be configured in rows and mounted on a tracking system 3 metres above ground level, allowing the panels to rotate in order to maximize their exposure to the sun.

The renewable energy market has faced uncertainty in recent years, with the federal government's review of the Renewable Energy Target and attempts to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation putting several projects in doubt.

However with the new target of 33,000GWh by 2020 locked in in June, and the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to Prime Minister who is seen as more friendly to the industry, the prospects for renewable energy are brighter.

"We welcome the Prime Minister's positive statements about renewable energy and look forward to progressing the development of our project pipeline," said Mr Wentrup.

FRV, who built the National Electricity Market's first large-scale solar farm at Royalla in the ACT, also has projects in development at Clare and Tieri in North and Central Queensland.

The solar farm at Kokotungo could operate for up to 30 years before it would have to be refurbished or decommissioned.


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