Yatpool Solar Farm powers regional employment

L-R Justin Coburn, stakeholder engagement manager at Beon, Yatpool solar farm worker Kienen Jones, Minister Pakula and Yatpool solar farm worker Ishaq Ali Rezaei

A new solar farm in North West Victoria being built by Australian energy construction partner Beon Energy Solutions (Beon) has created more than 190 regional jobs as part of an innovative training and employment program.

The nearly completed facility will incorporate 350,000 solar panels across 250 acres, generating enough energy to supply the equivalent electricity required by approximately 40,000 homes.

Beon general manager Glen Thomson said Beon had successfully built on the employment strategy used at the nearby 112MW Karadoc Solar Farm.

“While Yatpool Solar Farm will soon contribute to Australia’s renewable energy transition, it has already made a substantial contribution to the Mildura region’s economy,” Mr Thomson said.

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“The Yatpool and Karadoc Solar Farms highlight the benefits of renewable energy projects for rural towns, especially when meaningful employment strategies are implemented with support from local and state government, training providers such as SuniTAFE and industry.”

Beon employed more than 190 workers, mostly from the local area, for the project. Forty five of these workers were supported into work across the Karadoc and Yatpool projects by Jobs Victoria, the government program that breaks down barriers to employment through tailored programs that link jobseekers with opportunities and employment, and employers with the right workers for their needs.

Twenty-two electrical apprentices who began work at the Karadoc Solar Farm transitioned to the Yatpool site and have nearly completed the second year of their apprenticeship. More than 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people worked across both solar farms and there were 12 workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

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“In addition to helping long-term unemployed people back into work, we’ve focussed on employing apprentices and upskilling them so they can take the skills gained in this project into future employment, providing significant benefits across the local community, and the industry as a whole,” Mr Thomson said.

The project started in April this year and is nearing completion, with all solar panels installed, electrical works almost complete and commissioning underway.

Yatpool and Karadoc solar farms, owned by renewables developer BayWa r.e., both contribute to Victoria’s growing role as a renewable powerhouse and play a key role in the state’s renewable energy transformation.