The Queensland Government has approved the creation of one of Australia’s largest solar farms in the Burdekin Shire (QLD).

Global solar power company FRV plans to invest up to $400 million to develop 238 hectares of photo voltaic panels on 340 hectares of privately held farmland. Construction of the solar farm in Clare will create 200 construction jobs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad, said the project would drive regional investment, create jobs and ensure Queensland is well-positioned to meet future energy targets.

“The project will create an estimated 200 jobs during construction and power up to 65,000 homes when fully operational, helping us to reach our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030,” Ms Trad said.

The Deputy Premier approved the solar farm development application after undertaking a thorough reassessment of the project.

“The solar farm, located south-west of Ayr, will provide ongoing benefits to the local economy by delivering a safe, reliable and affordable alternate energy source,” Ms Trad said.

“We made an election commitment to provide a stable and regulatory environment to encourage private sector investment and grow the renewable energy industry across the state.

“It will also help meet the service demand projects contained in the State Infrastructure Plan, which predicts energy demand in regional Queensland will grow from 74.71 GW per week today to 95.93 GW per week in 2036.

“My decision to approve the development has been made after seeking advice from Burdekin Shire Council, energy providers and other key state agencies.”

Ms Trad said a condition of approval is that the site will have to be rehabilitated as far as practical to its pre-development condition upon decommissioning of the solar farm.

“I have notified all stakeholders, including the applicant, the council and those who made a submission of my decision to approve the proposed development,” Ms Trad said.

“The government made a commitment to listen to Queenslanders and give all interested parties the chance to have their say – and that’s what I’ve done since first issuing the proposed ‘call in’ notice and reassessing the application.” 

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