MILDURA SET FOR SOLAR POWER
The Mildura region is poised to take further advantage of its sunshine, after it was announced today that the Canadian Solar farm project in Carwarp has been given the green light by the Victorian Government.
The project, that is a result of advocacy by Mildura Regional Development (MRD), is a significant step in securing Mildura’s status as a key destination for solar power developments.
MRD Chief Executive Officer, Daryl Buckingham, has welcomed the announcement and believes it is further evidence of Mildura’s growing reputation as a place ripe for investment and business.
“Solar power projects such as the one to be constructed in Carwarp are great for our region, they will create job opportunities and drive growth, they support environmental sustainability and crucially, they will assist in putting downward pressure on the cost of power for both local business and families.
“MRD has been working extremely hard behind the scenes to secure the Canadian Solar project, with a view to expanding its community contribution beyond the solar installation itself. It is our belief that we need to attract new business and initiatives to our region and embed them in the community, from a social and investment perspective. The Canadian Solar project ticks these boxes, with a commitment to a community engagement and benefit sharing program.”
Local investment commitments made by Canadian Solar, subsequent to negotiations with MRD include:
• Funding the installation of a 20kW solar array at SuniTAFE and Mildura Regional Development’s Smart Farming training facility, by end 2018;
• Funding 15 higher education scholarships per year during the first five years of the term;
• Funding four higher education scholarships per year during the next 10 years of the term (school leavers and continuing education students in areas of education relating to energy and technology);
• Undertaking a feasibility study into the establishment of a photovoltaic module assembly site within Australia;
• Delivering world-class solar power systems with plans to offer residents of the wider Carwarp and Red Cliffs community the opportunity to purchase solar panels at an economic price as part of a bulk purchase program;
• Raise awareness about the strong business case for solar and the broader benefits of the sector.
The Carwarp Solar Farm, which will generate 121.6 megawatts, is one of six renewable energy projects approved by the Victorian Government today. It is estimated that there will be over 340 new positions created in what is being described as a ‘significant investment’ in the region, with ongoing and flow-on positive effects.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019 with operations anticipated to start in early 2020.
“Mildura has the advantage of vast tracts of flat land, ideal for construction and other development projects, we also have a great deal of sunshine. We are known has a hub for horticulture, agriculture and innovation, becoming the centre for solar power makes sense and fits well with everything else we are achieving.
“I look forward to seeing construction start out at Carwarp and for many other projects to follow,” Mr. Buckingham said.