FLARING UP: Map depicting the proposed Warwick solar farm site covering 154-hectares of beautiful agricultural land in Freestone Valley. The Mt Tabor residential precinct is also circled in red.
FLARING UP: Map depicting the proposed Warwick solar farm site covering 154-hectares of beautiful agricultural land in Freestone Valley. The Mt Tabor residential precinct is also circled in red. Marian Faa

$100 million solar farm destined for Warwick

BIG plans are in the pipeline to make Warwick the home of a massive $100 million solar farm, but some residents are flaring up at the proposal, which they fear would see their properties devalued and countryside views all but destroyed.

Australian solar farm developer Terrain Solar intends to soak up the Southern Downs sun with a huge 154-hectare farm, expected to produce 170 gigawatt hours per calendar year.

Development proposals for the site on the on the corner of Jensen and Gleeson Rd at Sladevale have been registered with Southern Downs Regional Council and it is understood the application is now awaiting State Government approval.

Terrain Solar director Simon Ingram said the site had been chosen for its high solar levels and close proximity to the Warwick Substation.

"It allows connection to the national electricity grid so clean renewable electricity can be generated for Warwick and even surrounding areas, such as Killarney, Allora and Stanthorpe,” Mr Ingram said.

Should it go ahead, the Warwick Solar Farm would produce enough energy to power around 25,000 homes and reduce emissions in the electricity sector by 135,000 tonnes of co2-e per year.

POWERING UP: Example of a large-scale solar farm.
POWERING UP: Example of a large-scale solar farm. First Solar

The news may sounds exciting to some, but Mt Tabor residents are beside themselves with worry.

Looking out over the picturesque Freestone Valley, Mt Tabor resident Meryl Strand paid a premium to settle down with some of the best views in the whole region.

But after only six months of living at her dream location, that could all change if the solar farm goes ahead.

The farm would cover almost 400 acres of beautiful agricultural countryside with industrial solar panels, all but ruining one of Warwick's most highly-priced vistas.

"We just don't understand why on earth they would put it there, when there is so much other horrible, unused land around the region,” Mrs Strand said.

"This right here is the gateway to the Southern Downs, you come over the hill and see all that beautiful farm land.

"Now instead of coming to the 'Rose City' you'll be coming to industrial city.”

Mrs Strand and other Mt Tabor residents have expressed their concerns to the council and said although they support solar in general, they will fight the placement of the proposal to protect the value of their properties.



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