New Zealand’s largest Commercial Solar Programme moves ahead
New Zealand's largest commercial solar power programme has been given a boost at Christchurch’s Northlands Shopping Centre, amid a groundswell of Kiwi businesses taking up the technology.
Meridian has partnered with Kiwi Property, the country’s largest listed property company to install almost 2,500 rooftop solar panels on its shopping centres in Christchurch, Palmerston North, Hamilton and Auckland. This programme will help make Kiwi Property New Zealand’s biggest user of solar power.
The Northlands Shopping Centre solar programme leverages Kiwi Property’s experience installing one of New Zealand’s largest solar arrays at its Sylvia Park Shopping Centre. The Northlands solar system features 672 panels – enough to generate over 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, enough to power the equivalent of 30 households or nearly 100 electric vehicles for a year.
Meridian’s Chief Executive Neal Barclay says the power purchase agreement model, in which Meridian installs and covers the upfront system cost and Kiwi Property purchases the electricity for a fixed cost, provides a more accessible model for commercial solar in New Zealand.
"Commercial solar partnerships make sense. Our customers harness clean energy and use it during daylight hours when they need it, making them more sustainable and self-reliant in their energy needs.”
Kiwi Property General Manager - Asset Management, Linda Trainer, says the programme allows the company to expand its use of solar energy without upfront capital costs or ongoing maintenance.
“This programme is important to Kiwi Property and our commitment to the environment, as it builds on our existing on-site solar installation, at grid-competitive prices. It will also lower our carbon footprint and contribute directly to the growth of renewables in New Zealand”.
Barclay says commercial solar programmes have the potential for far-reaching benefits, as they use previously untapped locations to generate renewable energy.
“This is what the future looks like – thinking differently to grow and diversify the use of renewable energy. The scope for growing commercial solar in New Zealand is significant. Christchurch alone has thousands of commercial properties, many of which could generate and use rooftop solar during the day.