Proposed New England Solar Farm plan community meeting

A community meeting for a proposed Uralla-based solar farm will be held next week.

The 700 megawatt solar farm, which could power 250,000 homes, has been put forward by renewable energy developer UPC Renewables Australia.

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Under the plan, New England Solar Farm will be made up of three separate solar fields, comprising more than two million solar panels, across a 2400 hectare site.

UPC Renewables solar development head Killian Wentrup said the New England Solar Farm would be a asset to the community.

“The solar farm will provide a valuable source of income for the local farming community, helping to drought proof the local economy,” he said. 

“It will provide a source of income for local contractors and generate employment during construction and a number of long term jobs.”

It is estimated the project will provide around 500 jobs during construction and up to 15 ongoing jobs.

The public meeting will be held on August 15 from 6pm at the Alternate Root Cafe, and is open to all community members.

“I’m confident the project and the community will be able to co-exist in a very harmonious way,” Mr Wentrup said.

“We care about how our project fits into the community. We want to ensure that it will be the best it can be – not just as a solar farm but for the community.

“We want people to come along and ask questions because we want people to value this project.”

The proposal has received concerns from surrounding landholders but Mr Wentrup said being a “good neighbour” was pivotal for the renewable energy organisation.

“We want to be a good neighbour and a long term member of the Uralla community,” he said.

“This means taking the time to listen to the what people think about the proposal and work with the community to refine our plans wherever possible.

“We’ve taken a number of measure to ensure these farming activities can continue in this area.”

The development application is expected to be lodged by the end of this year, and if successful, construction will begin in mid-2019.