A SOLAR farm capable of powering 71,500 homes will rise near Bendigo even though elected officials have not voted on it.
The 200 megawatt solar farm in Sebastian has been approved by Loddon Shire council officers after councillors scuttled a planned meeting to discuss it and other matters in the face of mounting coronavirus fears.
Councillors are yet to decide on details for their next monthly meeting but wanted to fast-track a decision on the solar farm and have dropped a protocol requiring their sign-off for projects that spark community objections.
The Campbell's Forest & District Community Action Planning Group had initially objected to the project on wide-ranging grounds including the loss of farmland and fears for critically endangered quoll which has been sited nearby.
But the group has since stated its concerns would be sated by the council's proposed planning requirements.
South Energy believes the 290 hectare network of solar arrays will save about 421,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The farm will be close to a major electricity line linking Bendigo and Kerang.
It is expected to begin operating by late 2021.
Loddon Shire councillors have also allowed a proposal on fees and charges to go on public exhibition despite cancelling Tuesday's meeting.
All other items will be considered by councillors at a later date.