Our commitment to people and sustainability

Utility-scale solar is a highly complementary industry for Benalla’s existing rural landscape and agricultural areas. Solar will also help diversify local economic production by introducing a long-term, sustainable industry that provides economic and social benefit to the surrounding region.

Winton Solar Farm provides local benefits, produces no emissions from electricity generation and has a significantly lower environmental impacts relative to other electricity generation methods.

Importantly, FRV prioritises genuine engagement and benefit sharing with neighbours, residents and the community living within the near vicinity of the Winton Solar Farm.

Social Benefits

  • Winton Solar Farm has created job opportunities during construction and operation.
  • 200 workers were employed during construction of the project.
  • 5 jobs were created to support operation. These workers and their families live locally and are a part of the community.
  • FRV has developed a Community Grants Program to share a proportion of profits with local community groups and organisations and has continued to support the training of local workers so specialist knowledge and skills remain in the area.
  • The Winton Solar Farm Community Grant Program was launched in 2020 and is currently in its third year.
  • Applications for the Community Grant Program are open at the end of each year.
Winton Solar Farm Community Grants Program

As part of our commitment to support the community and make a positive contribution to the region, FRV have established the Winton Solar Farm Community Grants Program.

These Grants will support local initiatives and projects that benefit the community in the key areas of:
  • • Environmental outcomes or the sustainable use of resources;
  • • Skills development, training opportunities or pathways to employment;
  • • Public health, safety, and wellbeing

2022 Community Grants Awards
We’re proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Grants:

Benalla Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – purchase of an energy-efficient dishwasher to increase the hire appeal of the venue, and support the efficiency and safety of club gatherings.

Mollyullah Recreation Hall – purchase of solar friendly electric oven to improve the outcomes of community gatherings and improved connections within the community.

Benalla Rotary – installation of two new bus shelters within Benalla township to provide all weather protection to public transport users.

Winton Fire Brigade – replacement of fatigued equipment to improve fire and emergency response services for the local community.

Note: Further applications are under still review, additional awardees will be included at a later date.

2021 Community Grants Awards
The recipients of the 2021 Winton Solar Farm Community Grants Program were:

Benalla Hockey Club:Purchase three portable, heavy duty gazebos to protect spectators at training and Fun Summer Hockey in Benalla, competitions in Shepparton and Melbourne, and for school demonstrations in the Benalla district. They will also be used for Hockey Presentations and other events now held outside.

Winton Primary School: Construction of a sustainable outdoor kitchen and garden site for the school and local community that includes vegetable garden boxes, a community pizza oven and outdoor kitchen area.

Benalla Sustainable Futures Group: Installation of solar panels on Bernard Briggs Pre-school Benalla to reduce costs of energy.

NE Tracks: Provide funding for annual Trades-focused career event for secondary students from North East Victoria to access career information and connect with industry and business sectors.

NE Tracks: Introduce and implement ACRE's flagship youth entrepreneurship program 'Social Enterprise Schools' across schools in the area to create an enabling environment for young people to develop citizenship and entrepreneurial skills, mindsets and behaviours. The initiative is student led and brings students, teachers and local entrepreneurs and the community together to make a positive social impact.

Glenrowan Primary School: Replace resources in school cooking learning classroom for student kitchen/garden classes. Volunteers work with students to teach them about germinating seeds, planting vegetables and growing and harvesting.

2020 Community Grant Awards
The recipients of the 2020 Winton Solar Farm Community Grants Program were:
  • Waminda Community House, Benalla – creation of an inclusive community garden
  • Winton Cemetery Trust – building new areas for contemplation and bird habitat
  • Tatong Memorial Hall – delivery of quality drinking water
  • Benalla Woodworkers’ Association – improvement to dust filtration
  • Renewable Energy Benalla – seed funding for a new Community Energy Project
  • Winton CFA – Delivery of new firefighting equipment and training.

Economic Benefits

  • Winton Solar Farm represents a positive diversification of the local economy and brings investment to the area.
  • Winton Solar Farm delivers additional indirect economic opportunities to local businesses including local grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, accommodation providers and petrol stations.

Environmental Benefits

Winton Solar Farm delivers clean, zero emissions electricity to meet the region’s energy needs and helps further the development of the Australian clean energy industry. Engagement with key community groups is also underway to understand and manage environmental features of the site, including habitat for the Regent Honeyeater, known to live in the area.