NEWSTEAD residents have lodged plans for a solar farm capable of powering the entire town with Victoria's planning minister.
The 10 megawatt farm will supply the entire town's power.
It would deliver lower priced green energy to many who could not afford to install solar themselves as well as renters, Renewable Newstead spokesperson Gen Barlow said.
Her community group is also now calling for expressions of interest from companies that would want to build and operate the generator.
"While the farm plan itself is fairly standard, albeit modest in size, it's the model for the farm's operation and retailing the electricity generated by it, that is especially innovative and one that we think will excite the energy industry," she said.
Renewable Newstead wants to install 27,400 solar photovoltaic panels at the corner of Captains Gully Road and Clarke Lane, three kilometres west of town.
The farm would be built next to the disused Byron Reef Quartz Mine.
The 1870s-era mine is heritage listed and some of the spoils from heaps at the mine have washed onto the site Renewable Newstead hopes to build on.
However, the heritage-listed heaps themselves do not sit on the section of land where the farm would rise.
Any construction would take place 30 metres away from anything of cultural value, Renewable Newstead has told planning minister Richard Wynne in its application.
The site is currently used to graze sheep and Renewable Newstead has told Mr Wynne it is of low agricultural value because the soil is not high quality compared to much of the district and is not in an irrigation zone.
Livestock would be allowed to graze amid the solar panels to help keep the grass down.
The Castlemaine Airport is about 12km south-east of the land and an impact assessment found that was far enough away to have no impact on passing planes.
It also found that cars on nearby roads would not have problems with glare, though it was "geometrically possible" for drivers and neighbours to see reflection from any solar panels, according to the planning application.
"Existing screening provided some mitigation in the form of windbreak plantings," it read.
The solar farm would run for 25 years, unless the person who owns the land extends the lease.
It could be up and running within a year if Mr Wynne gives Renewable Newstead the nod.
That decision is not expected before 23 September.
Ms Barlow encouraged anyone with feedback, comments or queries can email email@example.com or visit the group's website.