The Numurkah Solar Farm in Drumanure is on track to be completed by May next year, with the first panels to be installed next month.
Neoen Australia started construction in July and has since been working with Moira Shire Council to make sure it keeps to the necessary procedures set out in the planning permit.
‘‘Neoen gave a notice to proceed to the lead engineering, procurement and construction contractor Downer (Group) in late July,’’ Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez said.
‘‘Since then, the focus has been on obtaining all the necessary approvals under the planning permit with the local council.
‘‘Pre-construction/testing works commenced, as of last week, with the set out and driving of test piles to confirm the ground conditions of the site.’’
During the current construction process, Mr Woitiez said 300 local jobs would be created.
‘‘At the peak of construction, the solar farm is expected to create up to 300 new jobs for the Numurkah region,’’ he said.
‘‘There will be many contracts on offer to local businesses for all necessary operations including road works, fencing, landscaping, equipment rental, maintenance services and waste management.
‘‘The solar farm will also provide ongoing employment for a small team required to provide ongoing maintenance for activities such as panel cleaning, vegetation management, and thermal imaging of the electrical equipment.
‘‘At Neoen, we have always put a strong emphasis on using locally sourced materials, as well as skilled and unskilled labour where possible from local businesses.
‘‘By introducing new, highly transferable skills and industry diversity to local communities, regional Australia will benefit in the long term.’’
Mr Woitiez said the electricity produced from the solar farm would be fed directly to the local distribution network (operated by Powercor), to which the solar farm would be connected.
In other news, the Victorian Government is hoping to release the report into four solar proposals in the Greater Shepparton region before the end of the month.