Lincoln University Expands Its Commercial-scale Solar Energy Generation
Lincoln University has completed another step on its journey to achieve carbon neutral status by 2030 with its second major solar array going live last week.
Last year Lincoln became the first New Zealand university to adopt commercial-scale solar energy generation, and is the only New Zealand university to achieve a ranking on the UI Green Metric World University Rankings.
In partnership with Meridian Energy, over the last year the University has installed two separate roof-mounted solar arrays capable of generating 250,000 kWh per annum, enough to power 35 average-sized houses for a year or charge 12,500 electric cars.
The initial array, mounted on the roof of the University’s Te Kete Ika Building, was completed in November 2019 and delivers around 120,000 kWh of clean renewable energy direct to the University’s network.
The latest installation is mounted on the RFH Building and will approximately double the University’s solar power output to a combined capacity of nearly 200 kWp.
The Lincoln/Meridian partnership will install a further 500 kWp capacity of roof-mounted solar panels at the University through to 2023, with a major ground-mounted solar farm also in the planning stages.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie says Lincoln sees environmental sustainability as an imperative rather than a choice, and becoming self-sufficient in renewable energy generation is a key component in the University’s long-term sustainability strategy.
“We teach our students how to protect the environment and safeguard resources for future generations, and we’re committed to taking a global leadership role in implementing and maintaining sustainable practices.
“We want to ensure we tread lightly on the earth and effect positive environmental impacts in areas where we can make a significant difference, such as energy conservation, protection of native biodiversity, water management and resource recovery. Generating our own renewable energy is just one of the ways we can practically use the world’s resources wisely, in a more sustainable way.”
As part of Meridian’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Lincoln University, all the work and costs associated with the installation, operation and maintenance of the solar arrays are covered by Meridian Energy.
Meridian's Emerging Markets and Innovation Lead Tim Calder says, “By working to electrify their industrial heat processes, Lincoln University are taking climate action in their own backyard and beyond, supporting New Zealand as we strive for a zero-carbon world.
“We’re proud to play our part in supporting Lincoln’s sustainability journey through our commercial solar solutions.”
A growing number of businesses have been exploring commercial solar PPAs since Meridian began offering them to market.
“There’s a groundswell of interest out there in commercial solar. People are excited about the technology and we’re looking forward to it playing a much bigger role in our renewable generation mix,” Mr Calder says.
Lincoln University’s solar arrays are part of a 10-year campus development programme that will future-proof the campus and position the University to conduct its world-leading land-based academic and research activities within a safe, vibrant and diverse environment.
For more information about Lincoln University’s Campus Development Programme visit www.lincoln.ac.nz.
For more information about Meridian Energy’s Solar for New Zealand businesses visit www.meridianenergy.co.nz/ commercial-solar