MANILLA could have the cheapest electricity on the market with the Australia's first community-owned solar farm.
The $8 million project will see almost 15,000 solar panels built on private property in the quiet country town.
The push came from residents concerned with the threat of fossil fuel expansion in the north-west and climate change, Manilla Community Renewable Energy (MCRE) president Emma Stilts said.
"If the community owns the asset, the money stays in the region and we can have better control over the pricing of the electricity," she said.
"The energy we produce will be sold to our community, so we'll be trying to make that the cheapest electricity on the market."
Spearheaded by MCRE and Providence Asset Group, the solar farm is the first of 30 initiatives to be rolled out across regional Australia.
Shovels will hit the ground in June 2020, with the first electricity expected to be produced from April the next year.
With $3 million in community funds needed, Ms Stilts said solar is a sound investment for anyone who uses electricity in Manilla.
"It sounds insurmountable to most people, but that's 3000 people with $1000," she said.
"There was a lot of bureaucracy to start with, as a community we were probably a bit naive as to what we were taking on but we refused to be thwarted.
"I'm compelled by the threat of climate change, I have kids and this is an economic alternative to climate change."
The 4.9MW solar farm will power both the local community and wider energy market.
As the drought wears on, diversified industry will be the way forward, Tamworth Regional Council business director John Sommerlad said.
"The potential employment opportunities for local contractors and businesses during the construction phase, and beyond, is great news and the financial impacts and economic returns will flow well into the future," he said.