The New England Solar Farm is located in the Uralla Shire Local Council Area next to the communities of Kellys Plains and Dangarsleigh and the town of Uralla. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land of on which the solar and battery project is located. We recognise their continuing connection to land and water of this region. We pay respect to Elders past and present, and emerging leaders in the community.
Ooralla: A collection of stories from First Nations
A short documentary film capturing Aboriginal cultural values of the Ooralla region along with cultural items identified where the New England Solar and Battery project is located has been produced and provided to the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place. The film captures stories from Aboriginal representatives and was produced to share knowledge and raise awareness of Aboriginal cultural values in the region.
The region is known as Ooralla by local Aboriginal people, a place where they came from surrounding areas to meet, trade items and take part in ceremonial practices. The film itself centres on a significant grinding groove site that was identified as part of field surveys around four years ago as part of the assessment and approvals for the solar and battery project. It is believed Aboriginal people gathered at the site to learn, celebrate events and trade. Work is now taking place to establish access tracks to the Grinding Groove site so that Aboriginal groups can access the site once the solar project is operational from next year.
Partnering for the future
A number of farming families are also sharing their land for the development of the solar farm and its ongoing operation over the next 25 to 30 years. The solar farm has been designed so that there is enough space for sheep to graze around the solar panels, maintaining the region’s close agricultural connection with the land.
We will be working to reduce the impacts of the solar farm on the local environment and community throughout its construction and operation. Much of this work is detailed in several management plans and our development approvals.
You can find out more information in our management plans and development approvals.
Supporting the Uralla Community
The New England Solar Farm will create up to 700 jobs during peak construction and up to 15 ongoing jobs over the life of the project.
Wherever possible, workers and businesses from the local and regional area will be prioritised for employment and contracting opportunities with the project to help maximise the benefits for local communities.
This could include civil work in areas such as fencing installation, internal access track construction and other site preparation works, electrical works such as assembly of electrical equipment, low, medium and high voltage electrical services, site office establishment and other works such as plumbing and vegetation control.
A significant portion of the income earned by workers during construction will be spent in the region, helping to boost household incomes, indirect employment and the local economy. This affect will continue over the life of the solar farm from activities related to operation and maintenance.
Learn more about opportunities to work on the solar farm.
Community Benefit Sharing Initiative
A special Community Benefit Sharing Initiative has been established to help share some of the revenue generated from the solar farm with the wider community.
The New England Solar Farm will fund the program by providing $250 a year for every megawatt of power generating capacity installed at the solar farm over its 25-year working life. The fund was kick started with a $100,000 contribution from the solar farm to coincide with the start of construction.
A local Community Reference Group was established, and it set up the Uralla Grants program to help distribute the funding across the local community.
Community Reference Group
The Community Reference Group (CRG) is an independent body consisting of Uralla-based members. The group brings together an excellent mix of governance, accounting, and legal skills as well as a deep understanding of the local region, its history, environment, and the people who live here.
The CRG was formed following a public Expressions of Interest in early 2020. The group meets regularly to discuss administrative matters relating to the program, criteria and selection of grants as well as how best to publicize and build awareness of the grants.