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Solar farm safety is a priority

Solar farms are vast areas of land, usually in rural areas, where large numbers of solar panels (photovoltaic panels) are installed to generate electricity to feed into the transmission grid.

Queensland’s climate and wide open spaces are ideal for these facilities and the solar farm industry boom has well and truly arrived. There are currently over 80 facilities either in operation, under construction or under consideration throughout Queensland, with a capacity ranging from 5 to 2,000 megawatts.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office are keen to ensure the safety of workers and the community throughout the construction phase and once the farms are commissioned and operational. While generating hundreds of construction jobs and potentially putting a strain on electrical contractors, it is vital that all electrical work is undertaken by licensed workers.

Getting the design of the facilities right and using cables and cable connectors with the correct voltage ratings is also important. Being in a rural or remote environment also comes with the usual hazards and risks associated with such work: snakes, heat, and access to facilities and medical services.

In Queensland, there are also seasonal threats – dangerous weather events with the potential to destroy or severely damage these facilities. However, with appropriate planning and adequate controls, these risks can be minimised.

Rather than respond to incidents as they occur, WHSQ and ESO are actively working with the owners of solar farms, the principal contractors constructing the facilities, and all the parties contracted to operate and maintain them once they are commissioned and operational. WHSQ and ESO are contacting all the relevant parties individually to schedule meetings and audits to ensure the work health and electrical safety of all workers and local communities are maintained.

Further information

More information on electrical safety and solar work is at: www.worksafe.qld.gov.au

Last updated
31 July 2018

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