The push towards a renewable future in New Zealand has received a massive boost, with the country’s largest solar plant commencing operations and feeding green energy into the grid.
The Kapuni Solar Power Plant in South Taranaki has 5800 photovoltaic (PV) panels and can generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of more than 520 NZ homes.
This means that it will produce about 1.5 million kWh per year, equivalent to taking around 500 cars off the road or planting approximately 2,500 hectares of forest a year.
Commercial panel specialists Sunergise were responsible for the project, which was constructed over the past year before officially commencing operations in June 2021. The Kapuni Plant represents Sunergise’s first step in ground-mounted solar in NZ.
Sunergise general manager Paul Makumbe said that while it was a huge step forward for NZ, gas-powered plants would be essential during the transition.
“The landscape in New Zealand is changing, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions. Solar plants like Kapuni will help by producing clean, renewable energy,” he said.
“It definitely proves that there is a case for large-scale farms in New Zealand and that they can be economic.
“I think solar and renewables are the future. I don’t see it as a departure from gas per se. There will come a time when all of our energy comes from renewables, but I don’t think we’re there yet.”
NZ’s renewable energy landscape growing after PM pledge
New Zealand is looking to make a significant change in how it generates electricity, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledging to end all non-renewable sources of power by 2030. The Kiwi PM made the promise before her re-election in 2020.
The country has already set a goal for clean carbon emissions and now plans on going one step further by eliminating fossil fuels.
“The COVID-19 economic recovery represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape New Zealand’s energy system to be more renewable, faster, affordable and secure,” Arden said at the time.
If that goal is achieved by 2030, it will position NZ as a global leader and one of the first nations to become 100 per cent powered by green resources, ending the production of fossil fuel electricity.
How you can make the transition
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We’ll make sure that switching over is as easy as possible – no matter what kind of property you live in or how much time you have available. As we use only high-quality components, there’s no need to worry about any long-term maintenance costs either.