A 150MW solar farm – by far the biggest in New Zealand to date – is to be built at Christchurch Airport, and funded by Australian-based renewable energy fund Solar Bay.
The solar farm – said to be big enough to power the equivalent of 20 per cent of Christchurch homes – will be built on a 400 hectare lot of land called Kōwhai Park, and is likely to be expanded in coming years.
“There is nothing else like this in New Zealand – it’s innovative, far ahead of its time and absolutely world-leading in every sense,” said Jack Sherratt, the investment director of Solar Bay.
“The Phase One solar array is 50 times larger than any existing array in the country – and it’s just the beginning.”
Solar Bay is investing $100 million in the solar farm, and Sherratt says the location is ideal, close to the country’s second largest city, located on “flat and sunny” plans, and close to transmission lines. “It’s the ultimate site,” he said in a statement.
Kōwhai Park will also support the future development of green fuel production for land and air transport, green data centres and green vertical farming, and airport CEO Malcolm Johns said it was part of the airport’s plan to become climate positive over the coming decade.
“Over the past decade, our team has systematically decarbonised our business,” Johns said. “We’ve reduced 85 percent of our direct emissions and we’re on track to be carbon zero well before the city’s goal of 2030 and New Zealand’s goal of 2050.
“We want to enable the rest of the economy to decarbonise at the fastest possible rate. That is what Kōwhai Park is about.”
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