Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE - By James Ben­nett

The $170 mil­lion Finley So­lar Farm pro­posal has been ap­proved by the NSW Gov­ern­ment.

While the South­ern Rive­rina News was un­able to con­firm a de­vel­op­ment start date be­fore go­ing to print, about 100 work­ers are ex­pected to be used dur­ing the con­struc­tion stages.

The so­lar farm — to be lo­cated about six kilo­me­tres west of Finley — will be ap­prox­i­mately 300 hectares and com­prise of app- rox­i­mately 500,000 so­lar pan­els with the abil­ity to pro­duce up to 170 megawatts of power.

The project is be­ing de­vel­oped by Aus­tralian com­pany ESCO Pa­cific and is one of sev­eral so­lar farms pro­pos­als ear­marked for the lo­cal re­gion.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Han­nan said coun­cil is ‘‘very happy’’ the Finley So­lar Farm had been ap­proved.

‘‘It’s a pos­i­tive as it will be one of the largest so­lar farms in the area,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m not sure how long the con­struc­tion stages will go for but it’s go­ing to bring out­siders to the Ber­ri­gan Shire who are go­ing to use our lo­cal busi­nesses and that’s a boost for our econ­omy.

‘‘Lo­cal sub-con­trac­tors can gain work from the con­struc­tion phase and it will cre­ate per­ma­nent jobs for the site.

‘‘This shows how great it is to work, live and in­vest in the Ber­ri­gan Shire.’’

The Finley So­lar Farm will con­nect di­rectly into the Trans Grid 132kV, which is the high volt­age trans­mis­sion net­work that runs through the area.

The so­lar farm is also ex­pected to em­ploy up to five work­ers once com­pleted.

Ber­ri­gan Shire gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said the new so­lar farm would also fit in well with the shire’s en­vi­ron­ment strat­egy.

‘‘It cer­tainly fits into our fu­ture di­rec­tion as we’re try­ing to be as green as pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘The new so­lar farm uses the lat­est tech­nol­ogy by ex­pand­ing on other tra­di­tional sources of power.

‘‘It goes in hand with the new toi­lets at Finley’s Rail­way Park that will be bat­tery and so­lar pow­ered.’’

The South­ern Rive­rina News con­tacted ESCO Pa­cific but had not re­ceived a re­sponse at the time of go­ing to print.

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