THERMAL SOLAR: Australian company Vast Solar is looking to Charleville as a potential location to produce solar thermal power, and has set up a research station east of town.
THERMAL SOLAR: Australian company Vast Solar is looking to Charleville as a potential location to produce solar thermal power, and has set up a research station east of town.

Could Charleville have a solar future?

CHARLEVILLE could be the next boom town for renewable energy, with an innovative solar company looking at the region as a possible location for solar farms.

Vast Solar, a Sydney-based energy company, has been in talks with Murweh Shire Council and local landowners to conduct preliminary research into potential locationsnear town.

The company has set up a site to monitor local weather patterns at Raceview Station, on Charleville's eastern boundary.

"It was about six to eight months ago that Vast Solar first came out, and inquired if we would be interested in getting involved with their research,” Raceview Station manager Robert Adcock said.

"At the time, they had picked out a few places, and then last month they finally set up a weather station out in one of the paddocks.

"Now they will monitor the conditions, and the information they collect will help them make a decision on whether to build a solar farm or not.”

The company specialises in concentrated solar thermal power - capturing solar energy from the sun by using mirrors to reflect the sun's energy to a tower.

The energy is then stored and used to generate steam that then drives a turbine to generate electricity, which is distributed to the grid.

Early estimates indicate a site of about 350 hectares could be set up in Charleville, if tests prove it is a suitable location, and a solar power plant could create 15 - 20 jobs.

"A solar farm would be good for Charleville, because it would add more employment,” Mr Adcock said.

"The extra outside income could help everyone too, if they do decide to go ahead with it.” Vast Solar and Murweh Shire Council were approached for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.


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