Aviators wary of Pallamana solar farm

In the past 30 years, aviation students have made emergency landings in a paddock south of the Pallamana airfield only a handful of times.

But the next such incident could prove fatal if plans to build a solar farm go ahead, local pilots say.

Mike Chapman was one of several attendees at an information session in Murray Bridge on Tuesday who told proponents RES more consideration needed to be given to pilot safety.

He worried that the gaps between rows of solar panels were wide enough for a car to drive through, but not wide enough for a light aircraft.

"When you take off, that's one of the most dangerous parts of flying," he said.

He said 80 aircraft and four flying schools used the airstrip, making it the busiest in South Australia after Parafield.

Lesser concerns from pilots included glare from the panels, which RES representatives said would be negligible, and the thermal air currents that would be created above them.

The feedback given by about 50 people at the session was otherwise positive.

Ecologist Steve Coombe said he approved of RES' plans to retain remnant vegetation, and conceded the solar plant would be less controversial than Tilt Renewables' proposed wind farm at Palmer.

Councillor Fred Toogood said the proposal was exciting – "we've got to be open to this sort of thing".

RES spokesman Richard Finlay-Jones said the company's plans could yet be modified, as they had not yet been submitted to the State Planning Commission for development approval.

The project is expected to create 200 construction jobs.