Esco Pacific said the majority of workers on the Susan River solar farm will be locals.
Esco Pacific said the majority of workers on the Susan River solar farm will be locals.

Locals not passed up for solar farm: developer

RUMOURS of local workers being passed up for the construction of one of the Fraser Coast's largest solar farms have been dispelled.

It follows allegations solar farm developer Esco Pacific preferenced international workers over local subcontractors to construct the $175 million Susan River renewable energy development.

About 150 workers will construct the solar project.

Esco Pacific Head of Development Allison Hawke said the selected company was one with "significant experience" in solar design and procurement.

She told the Chronicle local subcontractors will make up the majority of the workforce.

"An experienced company is usually selected for this scale of projects," Ms Hawke said.

"It's not possible to get an experienced utility-scale solar company with the structure and experience needed to develop this kind of project.

"But the successful company will mobilise a crew from local subcontractors once construction officially begins."

Work started in mid-January on detailed design phases for the 176ha solar farm. The project is expected to take nine months.

Once completed, it will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 50,000 homes on the Fraser Coast.

Esco is also handling the development of a $210 million solar farm in Childers.

Ms Hawke said both projects were expected to start soon once detailed designs were finalised.

"I think it's fantastic to see two sizable projects in the region that will create a lot of employment and upskilling for a growing industry," Ms Hawke said.

The Susan River project is one of three major solar developments in the Fraser Coast expected to start development this year.

Construction has already started on a 400.67ha solar farm near Munna Creek, while projects in North Aramara and Teebar are awaiting a start date.