The New England Solar Farm and battery project will be Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility.
The 720 megawatt (MW) solar farm will be located across two solar fields near Uralla, NSW in the New England Renewable Energy Zone.
Rows of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be 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.
It will produce around 1,800,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean renewable electricity each year – enough to power more than 250,000 typical NSW homes. The solar farm project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.5 million tonnes of C02 each year - equivalent to the taking 330,000 cars off the road.
A Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) capable of dispatching energy to the grid at times of high energy demand is also being constructed as part of the development.
The battery could be constructed in stages, up to a maximum size of 400MWh.
The New England Solar Farm and battery project is expected to create up to 700 jobs in construction and 15 ongoing jobs over its 25-to-30-year life.
The first 400 MW stage of the solar farm is now underway, with the upgrade of roads connecting to the solar farm site road taking place before work can start on the solar farm site.
See the latest Project Updates to keep up date on work.
The New England Solar Farm will be built across a 2,000-hectare site of mostly cleared grazing land, about six kilometres northeast of Uralla in the NSW New England region.
It is located in the NSW Government’s renewable energy zone and in a region that has been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator and electricity transmission operator TransGrid as a priority area for renewable energy development.
The solar farm site is about 1,000 metres above sea level and has high solar irradiance. The combination of elevation, favourable solar resource and the cooler New England temperatures make the site highly productive for solar energy generation.
The site is traversed by an existing 330 kV power line owned and operated by TransGrid.
The New England Solar Farm Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) was selected as a successful applicant for funding under the NSW Government’s Emerging Energy Program.
The funding will allow us to build a 50MW/1hour BESS co-located with the solar farm.
The solar and battery project will be Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility, supporting a more stable NSW electricity network and putting downward pressure on electricity bills as the country transitions to a clean energy future.
Looking to the future as batteries come down the cost curve and the need for firming energy increases, UPC\AC Renewables Australia has planning approval to expand the battery capacity up to 400 MWh.
The final investment decision and selection of the contractor to develop stage 1 of the battery project is expected to be completed over the coming year.
Substation and transmission connection
An electricity substation will be constructed on the northern section of the site to connect with the solar farm. It will then connect with TransGrid’s existing 330 kV transmission line that crosses the site so that power can be safely sent into the National Electricity Grid.
A new above ground electricity line will be constructed on site as part of that work.