65 MW agrivoltaic project gets consent in New Zealand

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United Kingdom-headquartered renewables company Ethical Power, in partnership with New Zealand-based, family-owned developer KeaX Limited has the green light to develop the 65 MW Buckleys Road Solar Farm and battery energy storage system (BESS) in the Canterbury region near Christchurch, New Zealand.

Capable of powering 11,000 of the district’s 29,000 homes, the project received consent from the Selwyn District Council for its 140,000 single axis tracking modules, 13 inverters and a co-located BESS.

It is one of nine clean energy projects in New Zealand totalling 400 MWp being developed by Ethical Power.

The 104 ha solar array to be developed across a 111 ha site is adjacent to the Brookside 66 kV substation and will be hosted on land currently used for cattle grazing and will support primary land-based production through sheep grazing once the site is operational.

The review of the proposed development positively assessed the impact of the solar development on the land, concluding it would not detract from the rural character of the area due to existing and proposed shelterbelts and landscaping included in the development plan.

Ethical Power Development New Zealand Country Manager and project lead Nick Keeler said Buckleys Road will be a stellar solar projects for New Zealand.

“We’re delighted with the Council’s positive decision and keen to see the project go live as soon as possible. It’s been a pleasure working on this development with KeaX, combining Ethical Power’s international solar and BESS expertise with KeaX’s insights and local knowledge,” he said.

KeaX Limited Director Campbell McMath said it’s encouraging to see the council supporting new, and much needed, renewable energy projects in the area, realising the possibilities of land diversification.

“This supports Canterbury’s need for greater generation and provides farmers with a stable income. The partnership with Ethical Power has been an exciting step, allowing Ethical and Kea’s skills, knowledge and experience, to complement each other,” he said.

In May 2024, Ethical Power UK also signed a contract with New Zealand-based electricity generation company Lodestone Energy to remotely monitor from Devon, UK, the 33 MW Kaitaia Solar Farm and 33 MW Edgecumbe solar farm, both in New Zealand’s north island.

Lodestone Energy COO Richard Pearce said Ethical Power team has proactively alerted them to any irregular operating conditions or plant status alarms.

“This enables the Lodestone team and their operations and maintenance contractor to respond promptly and efficiently,” he said.

According to the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation (NPS-REG), New Zealand aims to achieve 100% renewable electricity generation by 2030.

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