The farmer nearest a solar farm planned for Orange says he is "devastated" after a government planning panel approved the project this week.
And mayor Reg Kidd said he was considering protesting to the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, after the panel ruled against the decision of Orange City Council which opposed the development.
Their reaction comes as a community co-operative said they would soon start public meetings to seek funding from Central West residents wanting be involved in the solar park project.
It's not a farm, it's an industrial factoryCr Reg Kidd, Orange mayor
Rob Green, who lives next to the Mitchell Highway site about six kilometres north-west of Orange, said his rural outlook would be destroyed as he would see the solar park from three of his farm boundaries.
"I'm absolutely devastated," he said.
"I think we've been delivered a terrible low blow."
Mr Green said that if the $8.9 million development had been valued below $5 million council would have determined it.
Cr Kidd said the solar park was in the wrong place and would not create jobs as had been claimed.
"It's against a resolution of council. It's not a farm, it's an industrial factory. There are more suitable sites in our [council area]," he said.
Cr Kidd said he was not happy with the hearing being conducted by a phone hook-up rather than a public meeting.
"I think the process is very, very flawed. It was done by teleconference, I believe the connection was poor," he said.
Cr Kidd said he was examining any avenues of appeal however they would likely be for individuals rather than council.
"I have said I am prepared to write to the minister and the premier about this. I feel so strongly about it," he said.
Energy Democracy Central West NSW Co-operative CEO Alan Major said residents could share in the benefits of a solar farm by buying into the co-operative which would provide a deal to cut their energy costs.
He said they would be selling 900 parcels of 5000 shares, costing about $5000 per parcel, for people to join the project.
Mr Major said there was "pent-up demand" from people wanting renewable energy. "In Goulburn in the first weekend there was half-a-million dollars worth of commitments," he said.
Mr Major said community information meetings on the solar farm collective would be held in Orange and other Central West towns early in the new year.
The Western Regional Planning Panel said the solar farm was suitable for the site.
"The visual impact to users of the Mitchell Highway entering and existing Orange is acceptable. It is not reasonable to expect or require a solar farm to be completely hidden from public and private domain views," it found.
Orange City councillor Russell Turner, who was on the planning panel, voted against the development.
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