English solar developers expand into friendly New Zealand


From pv magazine Global

The charms of New Zealand, it appears, have become attractive to solar developers as well as end-of-the-world-fleeing Silicon Valley billionaires.

Three English solar developers today announced the formation of a joint venture to develop a 350 MW utility scale solar pipeline in New Zealand, having been attracted by the clear environmental commitments made by Jacinda Ardern‘s government; a lack of the grid congestion which is hobbling PV in neighbouring Australia; and high levels of solar irradiation – compared to England, anyway.

Hampshire-based Hive Energy today announced the formation of its HES Aotearoa joint venture along with the Exeter-based Ethical Power Group that Hive acquired half of in November, and fellow installer and developer Solar South West, which takes its name from its location in Crewkerne, Somerset, in southwest England.

The press release issued by Hive today did not specify whether the stakes held by each partner would be evenly split and did not indicate any finalised plans for solar farms as yet.

The statement did, however, point to the commitment made by Ardern’s Labor government to have an entirely renewables-based electricity system this decade and its decision to stop issuing gas exploration licenses.

Quoted in the press release, Hive CEO Giles Redpath said: “This new joint venture with Ethical Power and Solar South West presents an exciting opportunity to deliver Hive Energy’s mission to support a cleaner, greener future, through its pipeline of nearly 350 MW of solar assets. New Zealand’s excellent natural conditions for solar energy, along with its opportunities for grid connections and support from the government, presents a unique opportunity for HES Aotearoa.”

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