New Zealand renewables company Lodestone Energy’s plans to develop the first series of five large solar power plants with a combined generating capacity of more than 365 GWh per year have reached a new milestone as construction begins on the second project.
Lodestone Energy has started construction of the 32MW Edgecumbe Solar Farm after announcing that it has reached financial close in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand’s North Island.
Edgecumbe Solar Farm, which is being built near the town of the same name, will comprise around 60,000 Trina PV modules with tracking technology. Once completed, it is expected to generate around 53 GWh of clean energy per year, enough to supply more than 6,000 New Zealand homes. and companies.
Lodestone Energy CEO Gary Holden said the project is the second of five solar farms in the company’s first growth phase, and the start of construction follows the start of construction on the 39.4MW Kaitaia Solar Farm in December.
“Today we have reached financial close at our Edgecumbe site,” Holden said. “We have secured Westpac’s debt commitment and have engaged Infratec New Zealand to build the facility.”
Holden said the solar farms are backed by long-term power purchase agreements with retailers Pulse Energy and Prime Energy, with the first of the projects producing clean energy before the end of 2023.
“We are up and running in Kaitaia and expect to generate electricity in the second half of this year,” he said. “In early 2024 we will also be generating electricity at Edgecumbe and we have three other sites already confirmed and up and running.”
The company is also developing solar farms in Dargaville, the Waiotahe Valley and Whitianga, and is also looking for other sites to build on with a number of sites “at an advanced stage of investigation”.
Lodestone said each of its solar farms is designed to allow livestock grazing and gardening to continue around and under the solar infrastructure, ensuring it maximizes New Zealand’s renewable energy production in the most sustainable way.
The company said the approach will allow the land to continue to be productive, with more than 85% of the crop’s base yield expected when the solar farm is operational.