Stark rows of angular metal frames stand in a field of red dirt, like a modern art installation. It is an austere sight, particularly under an overcast sky on a chilly October morning.
But this is the start of the University of New England's solar farm, designed to provide the academic campus's power supply and take pressure off local resources.
By March, these frames will hold nearly 9000 photovoltaic solar modules, providing three megawatts of power a day. That will reduce carbon emissions by up to 5000 tonnes a year - the equivalent of taking 1000 cars off the road.
"The university is deeply committed to environmental sustainability," vice-chancellor Brigid Heywood said. "We are, as an institution, trying to reduce our footprint within the wider community by adopting a broad portfolio of sustainability measures, and renewables are deeply embedded in that plan."
UNE needs a lot of energy; at the moment, it relies on grid electricity and liquid petroleum gas.
"This initiative," Professor Heywood said, "allows us to come off the grid; be fully independent; minimise our expenditure in maintaining very high-performance technical facilities; and build on our renewables portfolio."
The first stage of the project will generate up to half of the campus's energy needs behind the metre; the second stage is expected to double that amount.
The solar farm would feed energy into the region's network, Brad Nixon, UNE's project development manager, said. This, Professor Heywood hopes, would lower the overall price of energy.
"As a result of us coming off the grid, we will reduce the load and the burden of the grid here supporting us," Professor Heywood said.
The Solgen Energy Group started work in late July, employing a local Indigenous company, the JNC Group.
Brad Nixon, UNE's project development manager, expected the project to be completed in March, and go live mid-year.
Once the frames are installed, there will be a three-month programming period to make sure the farm doesn't upset Armidale's electricity network.
The Armidale Tree Group have planted 3000 native trees and shrubs in a strip corridor nearby.
This will improve the aesthetics of the solar farm, and offset carbon for years - "not only a benefit to us, but to greater New England, and clearly Australia," Professor Heywood said.
The trees will be watered from Laureldale Dam; the water, Mr Dixon said, is non-potable, and used only for construction.
As the solar farm project nears completion, the university will hold open days for the public.
"This is a new thing in this region, and lots of people have never had the opportunity to go close to a solar farm," Professor Heywood said. "Bringing people here and showing them what renewable power generation looks like, what a solar farm is, takes the mystery out of it."
The community will also be able to adopt trees and solar panels, as the solar farm puts energy back into the grid. It would, Professor Heywood said, be a way to engage the community.
The solar farm, Professor Heywood said, is a collaborative effort with Armidale and New England residents.
As well as creating a community facility for the university and the wider region, she said, the university has worked hard to respond to the needs of nearby residents who could be affected.
Local Aboriginal organisations will make sure cultural heritage is protected.