ACEN Australia Opens Stage 1 Of New England Solar Project To Generate Clean Energy

Representational image. Credit: Canva

Stage 1 of ACEN Australia’s New England Solar project was officially opened today by the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Federal Minister for Climate Change, marking a milestone in the project’s six-year journey to generate clean renewable energy into the National Electricity Market (NEM).


The estimated 936 MWdc (720 MWac) project is being developed in two stages and was approved by the NSW Government in 2020. The first 521 MWdc (400 MWac) stage of the project has been in construction since March 2021. It is one of Australia’s largest solar projects to be participating in the NEM, with Stage 1 requiring the installation of close to a million solar panels.

New England Solar was granted formal registration to send power into the NEM by the Australian Energy Market Organization (AEMO) in December 2022, and since that time, has been generating renewable energy. Stage 1 of the project is expected to be generating at a full nameplate capacity of 521 MWdc (400 MWac) in the coming months.


During construction, up to 400 workers have been on-site during peak activity, upgrading and maintaining roads, installing and building supporting infrastructure, constructing and connecting tracking systems, and installing solar PV modules. Around 80% of this peak workforce has been filled by personnel from the New England region.

Also Read  COP28 President-Designate Calls On G7 Nations To Deliver On A Practical And Inclusive Energy Transition

Anton Rohner, CEO of ACEN Australia, said, “The event is an important milestone for the energy transformation underway across NSW and Australia. I truly believe that the work ACEN Australia is doing to accelerate Australia’s transition to a renewable energy future is here and now – and it starts with New England Solar. We decided to build New England Solar on a full merchant basis to ensure it is online in time to help replace closing coal-fired power stations in NSW. We wanted to get things built, to decarbonize Australia.”

New England Solar is being built with the support of host landholders, First Nations people, and the Uralla community.

Rohner added, “They are at the heart of what we do, and I want to personally thank them for putting their trust in us. Through their support, we are together in pushing the boundaries of traditional industry thinking and pioneering modern projects for modern energy needs. It’s been a team effort. Together with our contracting partner GLC, we’ve navigated a global pandemic coupled with an extended La Niña leading to extremely challenging weather conditions for the construction team who have executed the project safely.”

Also Read  EDPR to Supply Procter & Gamble with Solar Energy from 142 MW Capacity in Italy

ACEN Australia is investing more than AU$ 5 Mn in community funding into Uralla over the next 25+ years as part of New England Solar.

Rohner said, “We understand the importance of sharing in the benefits that our projects can provide. I’m particularly proud of the work already invested through the Uralla Grants Program, under the stewardship of the project’s Community Reference Group, an independent body consisting of Uralla-based members that bring together a mix of skills and deep understanding of the local region, its history, and the people who live here.”

Uralla Grants provides assistance and support to the community to promote community resilience, prosperity, sustainability, and recreation. At the completion of Stage 1 construction, AU$200,000 in grants will have already been delivered.

New England Solar marks the start of ACEN Australia’s journey to take meaningful actions to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to actively participate in our renewable energy projects.

Rohner said, “Just as the Anaiwan and Gumbaynggirr people have been doing for thousands of years, today we seek to harness the sun’s resources using new technologies. Our Registered Aboriginal Parties have been a part of New England Solar since the beginning, and I’m so pleased they could join us today for this exciting milestone and welcome us to the country.”

Also Read  Insolation Energy Limited Reports Strong Revenue and Profit Growth, Consolidated Revenue Soars to Rs. 280.05 Crore

Eric Francia, the ACEN president, and CEO, said, “ACEN Australia has around 1 GW capacity worth US$ 1 Bn in construction, and more than 8 GW capacity in the development pipeline. This represents ACEN’s largest investment outside of the Philippines. With this milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen Australia’s energy security while bolstering its roadmap to a low carbon future as we work towards our goal of 20 GW of renewables by 2030.”

New England Solar is located near Uralla in the NSW Government’s New England Renewable Energy Zone.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.