New Zealand’s Solar Power Market Getting Active

Lightsource BP & Contact Energy To Build Largest Planned Solar Plant In New Zealand For Christchurch Airport; FRV Australia & Genesis Energy Acquire 52 MW Project

New Zealand’s Solar Power Market Getting Active

Lightsource bp and Contact Energy plan to start construction on the 150 MW solar project for Christchurch Airport in 2024. (Photo Credit: Lightsource bp)

  • Lightsource bp and Contact Energy have won a competitive bidding round to build a solar power plant
  • The 150 MW solar plant under phase I of the Kōwhai Park of Christchurch Airport is planned as the largest solar power plant in New Zealand
  • FRV Australia and Genesis Energy JV has also recently acquired a 52 MW solar plant in the country
  • It is the maiden project of their 500 MW solar energy partnership for New Zealand

Things are beginning to happen in New Zealand’s solar power market with Lightsource bp securing contract to build 150 MW under phase I of Kōwhai Park of Christchurch Airport in collaboration with Contact Energy. This will be the largest planned solar park in the country currently. Recently, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), another European solar company, and Genesis Energy from New Zealand announced acquisition of a 52 MW PV project in the country.

Lightsource bp and local partner Contact Energy were selected by Christchurch Airport for the Kōwhai Park after a year-long competitive solicitation process to build this 150 MW capacity on some 300-hectare land, behind the airport’s runways.

This project is one of several planned solar farms in the country by Lightsource bp and Contact Energy as part of their joint venture plans for up to 380,000 MWh solar power generation by 2026 here, the duo stated (see Lightsource BP Launches Solar JV For New Zealand).

As for Christchurch Airport, the Kōwhai Park Project is aimed at future development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) for land and air transport, green data centers and green vertical farming with an aim to cut its emissions by up to 80%. At the same time, using its existing property assets help it diversify revenue streams for the airport (see New Zealand’s Largest Solar Plant Planned).

Construction on site is targeted to begin in 2024 once a final investment decision is reached. Once this 150 MW project with close to 300,000 solar panels is commercially operational in 2026, it is likely to generate 290 GWh annually, equivalent to around half of Christchurch’s domestic flights being converted to low-emission technologies, according to the airport management.

It will continue to expand over the next 30 years with the airport planning to introduce green hydrogen generation projects and energy storage on site.

The news follows FRV Australia and its JV partner for 500 MW solar in New Zealand, Contact Energy have made the move on their maiden project with the acquisition of 52 MW solar power plant (see 500 MW Solar Joint Venture For New Zealand).

The fully consented, large-scale solar site is located near Lauriston on the Canterbury Plains, located 1 hour’s drive from Christchurch, and was developed by UK based Hive Energy.

The CEO of FRV Australia, Carlo Frigerio said, “FRV Australia and Genesis have worked together during the past year and developed a very promising pipeline of solar projects expected to be delivered in the coming years. Lauriston solar farm is posed to be the first large scale solar farm reaching operational stage in the country.”

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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