$2 billion solar farm built in region: Largest in Oz

BREAKING: One of the world's largest solar projects has been approved in Toowoomba's backyard.

The 1000 megawatt Equis Energy solar farm will cover 1424 hectares and generate between 300 and 400 jobs during construction on the land about 12km southwest of Wandoan.

The $2 billion project is the largest solar farm to be approved in Australia, and ranks as one of the largest in the world, Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said.

It's a major boon for the small town of Wandoan, with construction work expected to begin in the next 12 months and be staggered over three years.

"It's a $2 billion construction cost and of that we expect at least 50 per cent of that to be invested in the local community," Cr McVeigh said.

"This 1000MW farm is definitely the largest in Australia that is approved at this stage and potentially one of the largest in the world.

"It covers a lot of country. The ones we have approved to date have been up to 250MW."

The Equis project will be the seventh solar farm to be approved in the Western Downs which, when combined, generate 2200MW for the domestic energy market.

Cr McVeigh said the farm reflected diversity in the energy market.

"We have our coal and coal-fire powered stations and coal seam gas," he said.

"Now we have a third wave of energy with solar farms, wind farms about to start construction on and also the ethanol plan near Dalby.

"We are very proud to be making ourselves the energy capital of Queensland and, we hope, for Australia."

Cr McVeigh said the council had learnt lessons from the resources sector boom in that the 400 workers will be housed in existing workers' camps or houses in Wandoan and surrounds.

"We don't want them in tenements that don't benefit the community," he said.

Topics:  australia editors picks region solar farm toowoomba western downs

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