New Zealand’s largest solar farm underway


The $30m facility will generate enough clean and renewable electricity to power the annual load of 3000 homes

The solar farm, which is being built in Pukenui in the Far North by Far North Solar Farm, will cover 12 hectares and contain 32,000 solar panels.

Once complete, most of the power generated by the farm will be consumed in Kaitaia or further north.

Far North Solar Farm director Richard Homewood says the solar farm would hopefully be operational by the end of the year.

“We are excited to be embarking on this journey of large-scale renewable energy generation in New Zealand but this is just the start.”

“We plan to develop 1 gigawatt of solar generation in New Zealand by 2025. This will generate enough electricity to provide for 20 per cent of the entire country’s daytime power requirements,” Homewood says.

Homewood says the Pukenui solar farm would be installed on leased land but the solar array and accompanying technology would be owned and operated by the company.

Three shipping-container-sized electronic converters will collect the power generated by the panels and convert it to grid power. Power will then leave the solar farm via an underground cable which connects to the local Top Energy substation, conveniently located across the road from the site.

Homewood says generating power in the Far North would increase local power supply reliability throughout summer peak loads when line capacities were reduced due to high temperatures.

“Using solar power during the day means there is more hydro-generated power left in the grid for use during the evening and in winter when less sun is available,” Homewood says.

The project will spend millions of dollars locally during the construction phase as well as create the equivalent of five permanent full-time jobs in the region which would be required to maintain the facility.