Cabonne shire’s claim as a growing hub for renewable energy is growing with Terrain Solar lodging an application for a 100 hectare solar farm.
Due to the project’s size, the solar farm development application still has to be considered by the Western Regional Joint Planning Panel.
The solar farm is set to be located off Belgravia Road, three kilometres north-east of Molong.
Cabonne mayor Ian Gosper said the location of Molong’s proposed solar farm would be close to the golf course and the showground, but would be highly beneficial.
Councillor Gosper said Transgrid had a large electricity transmission line and substation near the location.
“It makes sense to put it there,” he said.
That transmission line runs to Dubbo and Cr Gosper said the energy generated by Molong’s solar farm could end up feeding Molong, Orange and potentially, Dubbo.
He said another solar farm, valued at $109 million was ready to begin construction in Manildra.
Molong solar farm will produce enough energy for 10,650 homes, and together with Manildra, enough for 25,000 homes.
“In Cabonne we’re lucky, we’re far enough west that we don’t get as much cloud and little more sunshine, and we’re far enough north to avoid fogs,” Cr Gosper said.
Cr Gosper expected 100 jobs to come from the construction in Molong, with another three to four permanent jobs for maintenance into the future.
Molong’s solar farm is being developed by Terrain Solar, director Chris Wilson said there were two reasons the town was chosen.
“Molong is blessed with an abundant and reliable amount of sunshine through the year, it’s quite predictable,” Mr Wilson said.
The second reason was the solar farm at Manildra, which is expected to be slightly larger than the one at Molong.
Mr Wilson said the development of the Manildra solar farm would draw and create skilled labour in the area needed to maintain the farm.
As well as three to four permanent employees, “there’s a lot more indirect kind of activity with skilled contractors like electricians”, Mr Wilson said.
“We’re hoping to start construction at the end of the year.”
Mr Wilson said the project’s full cost couldn’t be revealed as parts were subject to competitive tender.