Regardless of which perspective you lean towards, there is no doubting solar energy technology is a critical step towards our commitment to a healthier planet.

While we’ll continue to rely on fossil fuels to sustain our growing population for the near and medium term, positive steps are being taken in our own back yard that will see Queensland as a major contributor to renewable energy production in Australia.

The Western Downs region in Queensland is being recognized as a powerhouse of solar production in the QLD governments commitment to a 50% renewable power supply by 2030. Contributing to this success, we recently saw the Darling Downs solar farm commence its supply of power to 36,000 homes in the region following the construction of APA’s 110mw Solar Farm.

As with any major project in regional areas, the wellbeing, future and sustainability of the local community is a major consideration in providing support and resources to the projects.

One of the major key success factors in community engagement for projects is ensuring the benefits are realised in the local communities where the projects are being built. 

A great example of this is employing local people to build and ultimately operate the solar project.  The Haynes Group Chinchilla office recently recruited and engaged 95% of its project personnel from the surrounding regions, ensuring not only were job opportunities created for locals, but the local communities and businesses benefitted from the revenue staying within the region.

While we should continue to celebrate our move to more sustainable renewable energy infrastructure, we should at the same time commit to supporting our local communities. With myriad proposed and approved solar farm projects emerging in the Darling Downs region, it’s critical to the sustainability of our regional communities that we promote, grow and protect our regional resources and the people who live in those communities.