MIA leaders say the construction of a major solar farm has already sparked benefits for the region.
It comes months before its predicted completion.
Energy Australia and French producer Neoen in 2017 announced plans to build the biggest renewable-energy power plant in NSW.
News of the large-scale project came only two week after work on a 112,000-panel solar farm began at Yoogali.
With soil turned in January, the Coly construction was projected to take less than 12 months, resulting in the installation of 560,000 solar panels across 550 hectares of land.
The panels are set to be hooked up to the national electricity grid in November, according to Neoen.
The power plant is being designed to power more than 50,000 homes, with an output capacity of 150MW, but Murrumbidgee Council mayor Ruth McRae said local businesses were already reaping rewards.
She said construction of the site had created more 300 jobs, adding a major boost the local and regional economy.
“The solar farm has had a significant impact,” Ms McRae said.
“Our accommodation offer, our transport, telecommunications, our local eatery, our supermarkets and our coffee shops have certainly benefited.”
Small communities like ours can’t always offer the mass casual labour force needed, but what we had has been used.
Chamber of Commerce chair Lynne Stuckings echoed mayor McRae.
“It’s been beneficial to our town, for sure,” Ms Stockings said. “It’s boosted some local businesses … people need a place to live and food to eat.”
Council’s general manager Craig Moffitt said the temporary boost to the economy would be beneficial, but added it was only for a short period of time.
“For a solar farm like this, there will always be a large construction contingent,” Mr Moffitt said.
“This will taper off to a small number of staff at the end though.”
But whether the boost to employment be short or long term, he said it would all be beneficial for the region.