Hive Energy, Two other UK Firms Team Up To Develop 350 MW Solar Power in New Zealand

Highlights :

  • For UK firms, New Zealand should be a far more friendly market than larger markets, where competition is far more intense.
  • Australia has embraced solar in a big way, with its rooftop sector dominating installations.

Three UK-based solar companies, namely Hive Energy, Ethical Power and Solar South West have launched a new joint venture (JV) that will aim to develop a pipeline of nearly 350MW of utility-scale PV plants across New Zealand.

The JV, called HES Aotearoa, combines competencies spanning site selection, project design, construction, and operations and maintenance across the three firms.

The firms see an opportunity in New Zealand thanks to its  significantly less congested grid that can handle a higher solar load comfortably, besides the higher irradiance, and solar yield consequently, as compared to the United Kingdom.  Solar yields are expected to be 35-40% higher in New Zealand as compared to the UK.

New Zealand doesn’t really have a significant solar power sector as of now, even though close to 75% of electricity comes from renewable resources, primarily Hydro, Geothermal and Wind in recent years. The country has set itself a target of 100% renewable energy by 2030, bringing forward an earlier target to get there by 2035.

“New Zealand’s excellent natural conditions for solar energy, along with its opportunities for grid connections and support from the government presents a unique opportunity for HES Aotearoa,” said Giles Redpath, CEO of Hive Energy. By May 2021, New Zealand reportedly had about 160 MW of solar power, with a significant part being installed in the previous two years. The drop in prices has played a significant role in building a strong demand for the energy option.

The announcement follows Hive acquiring a 50% stake in Ethical Power last year, combining both companies’ portfolios and facilitating the delivery of more than 2GW of solar.

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