Unused airport land will be used for country's biggest solar farm

Energy provider Vector Powersmart has been confirmed as the technical partner for the next stage Hawke's Bay Airport's ambitious 10MW commercial solar farm project.
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Energy provider Vector Powersmart has been confirmed as the technical partner for the next stage Hawke's Bay Airport's ambitious 10MW commercial solar farm project.

Unused land at Hawke’s Bay Airport is set to become New Zealand’s largest solar farm, capable of powering more than 2000 houses.

Vector Powersmart has been confirmed as the technical partner for the next stage of the airport’s 10 megawatt (MW) commercial solar farm project. The airport is also partnering with electricity lines provider Centralines Ltd.

On Friday, Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited chief executive Stuart Ainslie announced the next stage of the project, a feasibility plan, and technical design.

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He said the project ticked “many boxes” for the airport company, which recently committed to a vision of becoming New Zealand’s first carbon-neutral airport, with country’s largest solar farm.

“We are set to open New Zealand’s newest domestic airport early next year, and we can see a future in greater use of renewable energy on both sides of the terminal through the electrification of vehicles.

”Before Covid-19, we were forecasting one million passengers a year by 2025, but we have now pushed this target out to 2030, this will have a financial impact. Therefore, we need to continue to be innovative in our approach to operating a strategic regional asset.”

Unused land at Hawke’s Bay Airport is set to become New Zealand’s largest solar farm capable of powering more than 2000 houses (File image).
Supplied/Stuff
Unused land at Hawke’s Bay Airport is set to become New Zealand’s largest solar farm capable of powering more than 2000 houses (File image).

Vector Powersmart general manager Rogier Simons said early indications suggested the ten-hectare site was well suited to a “high performing, commercial renewable energy farm.”

“The airport land and the sunny environment it sits within has significant potential. The land itself is largely undeveloped due to height restrictions and being flat offers advantages for installation.”

The Hawkes Bay Airport solar farm project would be ten times that size of the build of a 1MW floating solar installation on Watercare’s Rosedale wastewater treatment pond in Auckland, which was completed last week.

“Collectively we’ve got an airport committed to creating a new revenue stream and minimising its environmental impact, a well-respected local lines provider and our experience of designing and constructing solar farms,” Simons said.

Stuff