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Agrivoltaic Project Set to Become New Zealand’s First Large-Scale Solar Farm

Genesis Energy, a subsidiary of the New Zealand government, and renewables developer FRV Australia have announced plans for a 52 MW solar farm near Lauriston on the South Island. The project will be the nation's first large-scale solar farm.

Shivam Dwivedi
Solar is still in its infancy in the New Zealand, which gets the majority of its renewables from geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric power plants.
Solar is still in its infancy in the New Zealand, which gets the majority of its renewables from geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric power plants.

The 90-hectare Lauriston solar farm, purchased from UK developer Hive Energy, already has advanced grid-connection approvals and is set to begin panel installation in 2023, according to the companies. The project will include approximately 80,000 solar panels and is expected to produce approximately 80 GWh per year. After the project is completed in 2024, farmland sheep grazing will be reintroduced at the site.

 

Solar is still in its infancy in the country, which gets the majority of its renewables from geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric power plants. These sources provide roughly 80% of the country's electricity and 40% of total primary energy consumption.

While no utility-scale solar farm has yet to be built in New Zealand, there have been a number of recent announcements for projects in the works, including plans for a 400 MW solar farm from Todd Generation and a 147 MW solar farm from UK-based Harmony Energy, both on the country's North Island. Similarly, Lightsource bp and the German investment firm Aquila Capital are looking to expand their portfolios in New Zealand.

 

Genesis Energy has partnered with FRV Australia, the antipodean arm of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, which is owned by Saudi Arabia's Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and has experience developing utility-scale solar projects. Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Canada's Omers Infrastructure now jointly own the FRV Australia arm.

Genesis Energy will hold a 60% stake in the joint venture, while FRV Australia will hold the remaining 40%. FRV Australia stated at the time that it was ready to expand its regional activities to the New Zealand market after delivering a reported 800 MW of solar projects, including approximately 250 MW under construction. The two intend to build 500 MW of solar capacity in New Zealand over the next five years.

 

"FRV Australia and Genesis have developed a very promising pipeline of solar projects that are expected to be delivered in the coming years," said Carlo Frigerio, FRV Australia's managing director. Lauriston solar farm complements our own pipeline and is poised to be the country's first large scale solar farm to reach operational stage. In general, the Lauriston solar farm is part of Genesis Energy's programme to replace 2,650 GWh of thermal generation with new renewable energy by 2030.

 

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