The project

New England Solar is a 720MW solar and battery project currently being built in stages near Uralla in the NSW New England region. It is one of the largest solar projects to be participating in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The project sits across a 2,000-hectare site of mostly cleared grazing land, traversed by an existing 330kV power line owned and operated by TransGrid.

Stage 1 (400MW) commenced generating clean, renewable electricity into NSW and Queensland in 2023. Stage 2 (320MW) and a 200MW/2 hour battery will start construction in 2024. The project is being delivered with the support of host landholders, First Nations and the Uralla community.

Rows of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are being installed on a single axis tracking system that follows the path of the sun, while also allowing adequate space for sheep to continue grazing on the land in between and underneath the panels. Over 1.5 million solar panels will be installed on completion.

INVESTING IN THE New England region
In 2023, ACEN Australia secured a 20 year Long Term Energy Service Agreement (LTESA) for New England Solar in the NSW Government’s first renewable energy and storage auction. The LTESA is a risk management mechanism that will support the project in the future if the National Electricity Market moves into a sustained period of low prices. In return for the long term insurance value provided by the LTESA, ACEN Australia has made substantial financial commitments to support community initiatives, regional manufacturing and employment, and Indigenous participation.

At a glance

  • Installed capacity of up to
    720
    MW
  • More than
    $7M
    in community funding into Uralla over the next 25+ years
  • Power
    300k
    average Australian homes each year
  • Offset
    1.5M
    tonnes of CO2 emissions each year
  • Up to
    500
    jobs at peak construction
  • Up to
    15
    operational jobs

Community

Built on a foundation of trust and shared value, we seek to develop relationships with communities that create enduring and positive impact. Here are some of the things we are doing at New England Solar.

  • 200k already invested through Uralla Grants to community groups, businesses and organisations through the stewardship of a Community Reference Group
  • $7m in community funding to come through ACEN Australia’s Social Investment Program (SIP).
  • Stage 1 built using 80% regional workforce
  • Solar panel rows and heights allows for grazing to co-exist
  • 1.5% of project value commitment to First Nations participation being delivered through contracting, employment, training and business innovation
  • 20% of project working hours commitment to Learning Worker participation to be delivered through traineeships and apprenticeships
  • 39% of project value target local content for construction materials from Australia or New Zealand
  • Addressing housing affordability and availability through an adaptive management plan for worker accommodation
  • Commitment to prioritise the participation of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  to deliver goods and services
  • Commitment to product stewardship through environmental and social procurement that encourage circular economy outcomes
  • Commitment to responsibly decommission all project infrastructure at the end of project life
Social Investment Program

Applications are now open for Round 1 of our 2024 Social Investment Program community grants, sponsorships and donations.

ACEN Australia’s Social Investment Program (SIP) provides grants and sponsorships for eligible individuals and organisations that are contributing to building thriving and resilient communities in Uralla Shire and surrounds.

A total of $150,000 in grants, sponsorships and donations will be provided through the New England Solar Social Investment in 2024, divided evenly between two rounds of funding spaced six months apart.

Round 1 applications close 29 March 2024.

We are continuing our support of the New England region, with more than $7M to be invested. It is our voluntary contribution to help build and maintain thriving and resilient communities.

The ACEN Australia New England Social Investment Program (SIP) funding is allocated for the next 25+ years. Initial funding for three years will be administered via two streams, and reviewed thereafter.

Community Reference Group 2024
Expressions of Interest now open

We are inviting expressions of interest from people interested in joining a Community Reference Group (CRG) to assess grant applications to the 2024 New England Solar Social Investment Program.

New England Solar CRG members should represent the community as broadly as possible, from various parts of the Uralla district and surrounds, and including a variety of ages, cultural and business backgrounds and interests. That includes representation of local youth and the Anaiwan community.

Find out more about the valuable contribution the CRG has played in assessing grant applications since 2021, and the role of the new panel in 2024.

Applications to be part of the panel close on 16 February 2024 and its members will be confirmed at the end of February.

We encourage anyone aged 15 years and over, living or working within the Uralla Shire Council region to apply to join the Community Reference Group, as well as Kelly’s Plains and Dangarsleigh residents who live within 5km of New England Solar project.

Express your interest to be a member of the New England Solar Community Reference Group by clicking the link below and completing the form.

Learn how the Uralla Grants program has been helping the community

First Nations participation

New England Solar is being built with the support of the Anaiwan First Nations people who have been a part of the project since it began. Just as the Anaiwan people have been doing for thousands of years, today ACEN seeks to harness the sun’s resources using new technologies, providing meaningful opportunities for First Nations to participate in, and share in the benefits that Australia’s growing renewable energy industry offers.

What started in 2018 as a process to support the NSW Government Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment requirements, a partnership between ACEN Australia and the project’s Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) has evolved. It represents a shared respect for a long term relationship that extends beyond the immediate need for protection of country, and towards a partnership that fosters building cultural knowledge while providing meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal groups to economically participate in the project, creating benefits for generations to come.

Worker accommodation

The expected peak construction workforce for New England Solar Stage 2 is 400 and we have a workforce accommodation strategy with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) to limit the impact on regional housing availability and affordability.

ACEN Australia seeks to reduce the impact on short term stay accommodation in the New England region as part of the construction of New England Solar. If you have a property available for rent, we would be be interested in hearing from you. Please register your details and they will be provided to our contracting partners.

Jobs and business

We have a commitment to employ and buy locally where we can so we can keep the benefits local. With such a significant construction investment, it is anticipated that there will be many opportunities for regional businesses to be involved. Goods and services likely to be procured locally include:

We use an EPC contracting model to construct our projects. To register your interest in employment or to supply goods and  services for the construction of New England Solar, please provide your details for forwarding to our EPC contracting partners.

Project updates

Update

ACEN Australia Leadership Changes

After six and half years as Co-founder and CEO, Anton Rohner will be moving on from the role as CEO of ACEN Australia. While Anton…

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Privacy Policy

Project site
Big Ridge Road, Uralla
NSW, 2358

Uralla office
96b Bridge Street,
Uralla, NSW, 2358

Email
info@newenglandsolar.com.au

Social media
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Phone
1800 844 889

Contracting partners
Stage 1 operations – Greenlight Constructions
Stage 2 and BESS – to be appointed 2024

NSW EnergyCo
For enquiries relating to the design and implementation of NSW Renewable Energy Zones
www.energyco.nsw.gov.au/contact
1800 118 894