Woods Point retiree fears solar farm will devalue his land

Paul Walker is anxious about Tetris Energy's plans.

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It was supposed to be a slice of heaven, a peaceful place where Paul Walker could spend his days after surviving a major cardiovascular episode.

But a proposed development across the road has the Woods Point retiree worried that he and his children will never recoup the price he paid for his property.

Tetris Energy plans to build an $850,000, five-megawatt solar farm on Jervois Road, near the intersection of Bartletts Road.

It would be the company's third such facility in the Murraylands, after Mannum and Coonalpyn, and similar in size to four plants another company is building on the north side of Murray Bridge.

The Murray Bridge council has not yet approved the development – a public consultation period will continue until Friday – but Mr Walker worried that the deal was all but done.

"Every time I go out the driveway it's going to be right there," Mr Walker said.

"I'm trying to stay positive, but it's not easy."

He believed its presence would devalue nearby properties, including a block he might someday have sold to fund his retirement.

"Who's going to want to buy the place when you look across at that?" he asked.

"If I had come to look at this place and seen that across the road, I'd have kept driving."

While he strongly supported the idea of solar power, he could not understand why Tetris had decided to build next door to him, instead of somewhere closer to Big River Pork or the Brinkley waste depot.

According to Tetris Energy's development application, the site was chosen for its proximity to the Murray Bridge to Jervois power line and main road, its flatness and its northerly outlook, among other factors.

Tetris raised the possibility that a line of trees could be planted along the roadside to screen the facility from view, "subject to landowner and community preferences".

It also planned to leave space for battery storage to be installed at a later stage.

Company director Frank Boland said the development was an opportunity to improve the power network in the Woods Point-Jervois area.

“Pollution-free generation is a positive for any area,” he said.

“Already a lot of people have welcomed it.

“It will improve the reliability of the local network with the connections we put in, which will be good for irrigation.”

If approved, the Woods Point solar farm would be built during the second half of this year.

Tetris Energy would be responsible for dismantling or replacing the facility at the end of its 30-year life span.

Tetris’ proposal will be considered at an upcoming meeting of the Murray Bridge council assessment panel.

Photo: Peri Strathearn. Image: Rural City of Murray Bridge.