The Yass Community remains divided over the proposal by ENGIE to build a 328-hectare solar panel complex beside Yass.

A Yass Solar Action Group has formed to protest the move, while others in the community have spoken out in favour of the solar farm. The Yass Solar Action group states that they support solar energy and understand its important role in future clean energy supply, but question the necessity of locating such a large solar farm so close to Yass town. The group proposes to move the complex further away from town, which they acknowledge would increase project costs, but feel that increase is reasonable because ENGIE is a large company with multiple projects worldwide.

Local musician Daniel Kelly, who is well known for his music on the poor quality of Yass Water, took to music once more to express his approval of the solar farm, after he received a flyer from Yass Solar Action Group.

“I was keen to provide an alternative view on the situation,” said Daniel.

“Writing songs has been a way of summarising social issues and reaching a wider audience, it’s been used for hundreds if not thousands of years.”

Daniel is fascinated by the nature of the criticisms, especially regarding the group’s concern of the solar farm’s proximity to Yass.

“From my point of view, the need to move off fossil fuels is clear– It’s no longer viable, there’s a need to move on to run the power system,” he said.

Daniel stresses that solar panels are not untried technology, and feels that compared to strip mining for fossil fuels, the environmental damage is negligible.

He explains that solar farms can be built in such a way that the land can still be used for raising sheep as the solar panels are elevated, providing room for grass growth and shade for sheep.

Pixabay image of solar panels

“It doesn’t preclude the land from being used for agriculture,” he said.“The reality is that, for whoever owns the land, it should be their choice.”

Daniel also said that the solar farm proposal was a nationwide issue rather than purely local.“There have been comments about how this particular solar farm is not connected to the Yass power grid, which to me is irrelevant as it will feed the wider NSW power grid,” he stated.

The solar complex will include panels, a battery energy storage facility, various buildings, access roads, and electrical cabling and substations.

Chair of the Action Group and former Mayor Rowena Abbey has concerns with the proposed project.

“The visual effect, in particular in relation to the size and the location of it.“I’m concerned that it, being so close to town, has the potential to stop growth, and there are concerns that need to be answered regarding fires, batteries, and accidents –  we have a water system and the township is so close by. Solar farms are not placed so close to towns as this one, and it isn’t little, it’s huge”, Rowena stressed.

Chair of the Solar Action Group – Former Yass Mayor Rowena Abbey says the solar farm proposal is too close to town

Rowena said the community deserves an early response on a range of concerns,

“I think Yass residents have the right to have a better understanding of the ramifications of having something so close to town. The big issues are what happens in a fire, and for a fast-growing region like Yass, are we limiting opportunities for our growth and the future?”

The proponent, ENGIE is holding community consultation meetings from Wednesday next week.

Yass Soldier’s Memorial Hall, Comur Street, Yass

  • Wednesday, 24 May 2023, 4pm – 6pm
  • Thursday, 25 May 2023, 8am – 10am

Yass Lions Club volunteers will be hosting a free afternoon tea and breakfast at the sessions so drop in to find out more about the project.

If you can’t make it to these sessions and would like to find out more, the Engie team advise they are available to answer questions over the phone on 1800 845 067 or by emailing

Griffin Palen