Airport to plug into solar power

Last updated 13:00 19/11/2012

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Nelson Airport is to become the "solar gateway" to the region with a project to install solar panels to help power the airport terminal functions due to begin today.

Specialist solar photovoltaic panel company NZ SolarFarms is installing 44 photovoltaic panels at the airport today with commissioning due to be completed by the end of the month.

NZ SolarFarms chief executive Matt Winstone said the first stage involved installation of an interactive display screen in the airport terminal that would allow members of the public to access information about the power generated and the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Winstone said the project at Nelson Airport was designed to create the "solar gateway" to the region, and that the company was "delighted" Nelson Airport had chosen to partner them.

"This is a very visible and high-profile commitment to solar power generation in the Nelson and Tasman region and illustrates the airport's commitment to sustainability and future energy security," Mr Winstone said.

Nelson Airport chairman Paul Steere said investment in solar panels was an airport company initiative that made sound financial sense and indicated it was committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

Mr Steere said the airport company had invested about $50,000 to have the technology installed on the roof near the front of the terminal.

"It's only a modest investment, but it's something we can improve on."

He said financial returns would be achieved through savings in power needed to run the terminal.

"I go to Australia every month and see this technology everywhere, but here you have to go out of your way to spot it.

"If we can encourage use of it, then that's a good thing," Mr Steere said.

NZ SolarFarms is a social enterprise that delivers training and employment opportunities through the provision of commercial and grid-scale solar photovoltaic solutions at sites around New Zealand. It is a subsidiary of the Nelson-based innovative greentech business cluster the greenXchange.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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