IT COULD be another six months before we know if a Chinese company will commit to a major investment and establish a significant solar farm in Tamworth.
Tamworth Regional Council welcomed a delegation from China to the region over the weekend, but progress on its project, which has been lauded as the fruit borne of a number of overseas investment trips, inches ahead slowly.
It was the third visit Tongyu has made to the region and while mayor Col Murray remained confident it would lead to a “major investment”, there was still difficulties facing the proposal.
The organisation pitched a solar project to be established near the Tamworth airport, but council knocked it back in a bid to preserve the land for anticipated growth at the terminal.
Since then, finding an appropriate site for the energy project has become a conundrum.
“We’re still hopeful, but nothing much’s changed, we’re still confident end up with major investment,” Cr Murray told The Leader.
Council signed a non-binding memorandum-of-understanding with the Chinese group in 2017 and the mayor hinted-at a potentially prosperous relationship with the proponent.
It could blossom into “another solar project and [it] could well be in the order of $150 million-plus”, Cr Murray said at the time.
However, finding a site in the city for the potentially lucrative project has become a stumbling-block.
“It'll be another six months before we have a hard answer,” Cr Murray said.
“There’s so much due-diligence to be done before a site can be determined.
“It’s just the site selection is so critical.
“Finding the right block of land in the right location is proving to be a little bit more difficult, but we have a few options.”
There was some criticism from the community about the council trips to China, but Cr Murray has previously said the potential investment would be an enormous return on the cost of the travel.