New Zealand renewables company Lodestone Energy’s plans to develop an initial suite of five large-scale solar farms with a combined generation capacity of more than 365 GWh per annum has reached another milestone with construction beginning on the second of the projects.
Lodestone Energy has commenced construction of the 32 MW Edgecumbe Solar Farm after announcing it has reach financial close on the project being developed in the Bay of Plenty Region on New Zealand’s North Island.
The Edgecumbe Solar Farm, being built near the town of the same name, will comprise approximately 60,000 Trina PV modules with tracking technology and when complete is expected to generate about 53 GWh of clean energy per annum, enough to supply more than 6,000 New Zealand homes and businesses.
Lodestone Energy Managing Director Gary Holden said the project is the second of five solar farms included in the company’s first phase of growth and the start of construction follows on from the start of construction of the 39.4 MW Kaitaia Solar Farm in December.
“Today we’ve reached financial close on our Edgecumbe site,” Holden said. “We’ve got our senior debt facility in place with Westpac and have engaged Infratec New Zealand to construct the farm.”
Holden said the solar farms are underpinned by long-term power purchase agreements with retailers Pulse Energy and Prime Energy with the first of the projects to be generating clean energy before the end of 2023.
“We’re underway in Kaitaia and expect to be generating electricity on in the second half of this year,” he said. “In early 2024, we’ll also be generating electricity at Edgecumbe, and we have a further three sites already confirmed and underway.”
The company is also developing solar farms in Dargaville, Waiotahe Valley and Whitianga, and is also looking for other sites to build on with a number of locations “under advanced stages of investigation.”
Lodestone said each of its solar farms is designed to allow stock grazing and horticulture to continue around and underneath the solar infrastructure, ensuring it maximises New Zealand’s renewable energy output in the most sustainable way.
The company said the approach will allow the land to continue to be productive, with more than 85% of baseline farming yield expected when the solar farm is operational.
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