The plans to build a 720MW solar farm – with as much as 400MWh in battery storage – have passed a big hurdle now that the developer, UPC/AC Renewables Australia, has agreed a grid connection contract with NSW energy network Transgrid.
As a result of the contract, UPC/AC expects to be able to start designing a transmission substation soon. The developer also has plans to start some road upgrades as part of the project later on in 2020.
New England Solar Farm
The project, known as the New England Solar Farm, will cost $768 million and will be spread across two huge solar fields 6km east of Uralla. These fields are in one of the three state-mandated renewable energy zones and it’ll offer enough space for 2.4 million solar panels, 150 conversion units and the lithium-ion battery facility. The project’s output will connect to Transgrid’s 330KV transmission line, which is already running across the site.
Enough power for 250,000 homes
The New England Solar Farm, once up and running, should produce around 1,800GWh of electricity each year, which is enough to power at least 250,000 homes. It’ll take around three years to build the farm and these works will create as many as 700 full-time jobs.
Two years in the making
The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission approved the plans in March this year after more than two years of assessments, planning and community consultation. The approval comes with some conditions from NSWIPC and UPC/AC Renewables is continuing to work to meet the conditions, fine-tune its financials and appoint its construction contractors.
UPC/AC also plans to install a large battery which can send out power to the grid during demand spikes. This battery is set to be constructed in stages, starting out with 50MWh, all the way up to 400MWH.
Giving something back to the community
UPC/AC will be donating $250 for each MW of capacity installed at the solar farm to community projects. This, assuming full capacity, means $180,000 per year over the projected 25-year working life of the farm.