Liz and Greg Wilson, farmers from Hawke’s Bay, next to installing solar panels on their Ongaonga property.
The sunny days are good news for Hawke’s Bay farmer Greg Wilson, who has enough solar panels to power much of his 550-hectare Ongaonga farm in central Hawke’s Bay and more.
Of the approximately 180 solar panels on the farm, Wilson estimates that they only use about two-thirds of the energy they generate, which means he has a lot to share.
A new system of multiple trading relationships, which allows it to contract with more than one electricity supplier at a single site, facilitates the transmission of excess electricity even to those with different suppliers.
“I look forward to being able to use the excess electricity to power different areas of my farm, including my family home, my mother-in-law’s house and the irrigation pump,” he said.
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Wilson first installed solar panels about three years ago after he started thinking about the less productive parts of his farm. Having always been interested in solar energy, he realized that there was an opportunity to generate electricity for the farm.
He has five electricity connection points on his farm as well as two solar installations, one for his house and a larger one for the farm. “It works very well and requires little maintenance.”
The 12-month pilot project allows him to share excess electricity with other community members who use different energy retailers.
He said technology was needed to help solve problems related to climate change. Solar power was just one of the tools available to farms like his and he believed Hawke’s Bay was uniquely positioned for solar generation.
Wilson said many farmers in the area can see the benefits and interest is growing. The program would help make solar energy more accessible. “It’s a win for everyone. The demand will only increase. »
Enabled by New Zealand’s future energy hub, Ara Ake, the program aims to introduce more competition into the electricity sector, making it cheaper for customers, helping to reduce energy difficulties and enabling greater wide adoption of low-emission technologies, such as solar power.
The off-market pilot was described by Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources, as a “world’s first”.
With the support of the Electricity Authority, it aims to demonstrate the benefits of multiple trading relationships (MTRs), currently not permitted under the Electricity Participation Code, and whether they are useful enough to warrant a change to the code. .
New Zealand’s largest solar power plant will produce enough electricity to power 30,000 homes and allow electric planes to recharge.
Ara Ake’s Managing Director, Dr Cristiano Marantes, said the innovative project has helped the country decarbonize and also has the potential to alleviate energy challenges.
“Achieving our goals for a low-emissions future will only be possible if customers are placed at the center of this transition. MTR is the type of energy innovation that does just that – it’s the Uber or Netflix of the electricity world.
Ara Ake is also looking to test the program with a company wanting to provide its solar surplus to its employees to help lower their household electricity bills, a marae wanting to share the surplus solar power with local homes in the papakāinga, and with Kāinga Ora, exploring ways to share energy among their clients.