According to media reports, areas once known better for coal seam gas deposits such as Queensland’s Toowoomba and Darling Downs are turning their eyes to the sun in order to cash in on a solar power building boom.
With some 14 solar plants in the pipeline, worth an estimated $5.1 billion, there is now the potential to create a 4300 construction jobs so as to ensure the solar farms are able to generate 4505MW of power in total from the sun for about 1.7 million homes.
So far, two solar farms have already started to be built - APA Group's Darling Downs Solar Farm near Kogan, and Canadian Solar's Oakey Solar Farm.
Of the estimated $3.74 billion worth of solar projects in the pipeline across the region, Western Downs Regional Council mayor Paul McVeigh is very optimistic over what the solar infrastructure is set to bring to the local area.
“This project will not only generate jobs and economic vitality, it most importantly shows we are leading the way in renewable energy as a pillar of our economy,” he says.
“Solar energy is a great example of adding diversity to our strong economy, which complements the pillars of agriculture, intensive agriculture, manufacturing and energy.”
Director of Yellow Solar, Matt Buchanan, said the Western Downs was an ideal location for the development.
“We chose the Western Downs because of its excellent infrastructure and the efficient working environment,” he says.
“Solar provides a diversity of employment and adds a new range of projects to diversify the already strong Surat Basin energy hub.”