A proposed 130 hectare solar farm located just one kilometre outside of Kingaroy is being met with differing opinions, as it is confirmed for construction after being rejected by council in 2018.
Global energy company Mytilineos will begin construction on the photovoltaic solar farm in September, with hopes to complete the project and begin operating in August 2023.
The project will exhibit an export capacity of up to 40 megawatts and will consist of photovoltaic panels on single axis trackers, facilitating ancillary activities including administration research and education.
The approved use may operate for a maximum of 50 years from the date the facility or part of the facility becomes operational.
South Burnett Regional Council initially refused the application for the solar farm in November 2018, resulting in an appeal being lodged in the planning and environment court.
South Burnett Regional Council Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones said that council received a myriad of complaints from landowners and thus rejected the project, before it was taken out of their hands.
"When it first came on the table, we had a representation of people from the community who came and made a presentation to council and we took all that on board," he said.
"We thought that it was important we listen to the community, because they were very concerned.
"The neighbouring land owners, the ones that are going to be affected immediately, they're not really big fans of it.
"So we supported the community initially, and the company that is proposing to put it there went above and beyond us. They had every right to do so, but they took it out of local government."
The planning and environment court subsequently handed down judgements which included minor changes in 2019 and 2020.
Council endorsed the survey plan for the lease of land to be utilised for the solar farm in July last year, and are currently waiting for further engineering details prior to issuing an operational work permit.
When asked why proposed site is being chosen as a location for the solar farm, Councillor Jones said it was perfectly situated due to the close proximity to the sub-station.
Mytilineos held a public forum in Kingaroy last week which didn't see significant attendance, but it appears that community members may be less concerned about the project than they were when it was first introduced.
One of the graziers who run a property on Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road are the Madigan family, who said the general opinion from the meeting was a positive one.
"Everybody in town seems to be coming around to it and might be realising that it could be a good thing," Mrs Madigan said.
"I haven't heard anybody objecting solar farming in Kingaroy at all.
"They're going to employ all local people as well, so surely that's got to be an advantage for the town."
At the meeting, Mytilineos informed attendees that they will be employing locals to work on the construction of the solar farm, partly due to a lack of accomodation in Kingaroy for outside employees.
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