Gisborne’s horizon just got greener with the launch of Te Ihi o te Rā, now standing as the largest operational solar farm in New Zealand.
Spanning 6.1 hectares and adorned with 8,000 bi-facial solar panels, Te Ihi o te Rā (5.2MW) harnesses the power of the sun generating approximately 7,300MW of renewable energy annually – enough to power 1000 typical homes.
Eastland Generation Chief Executive Alice Pettigrew said, “Te Ihi o te Rā marks a great accomplishment for our organisation, partners, and region, highlighting strides in the renewable energy sector.
“From design to consent, construction, and commissioning, our team’s commitment and expertise have steered this complex project towards resounding success.
“We are lucky to have a great partnership with Ngai Tāwhiri who have been supportive along this journey and played a key role in weaving traditional wisdom into our modern approach to renewable energy.”
Ms Pettigrew emphasised that Te Ihi o te Rā goes beyond the metrics of power; it’s a commitment to nurturing our environment and empowering communities.
Infratec’s General Manager Nick Bibby said, “We are proud to have helped Eastland Generation deliver this partnership first project that will improve the regions energy resiliance. Using cutting edge technology and a safety first focus, Te Ihi o te Rā is a great example of how to deliver a community driven solar generation facility.”
“Throughout the project, we have learned some invaluable lessons which will help shape future projects,” said Ms Pettigrew.
With sites secured in both Wairoa and Uawa, Eastland Generation is geared to leverage the untapped solar potential in these areas.
The energy generated by the solar panels will feed into the Firstlight Network grid, offering a greener alternative to conventional energy sources.
“Beyond powering homes, the solar farm reflects a commitment to national objectives. We are now one step closer to exceeding our goal of 100MW of renewable generation by 2027,” said Ms Pettigrew.