Lodestone Energy to build 220MW agriPV project in New Zealand

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Lodestone Energy has announced four solar projects on New Zealand’s South Island as part of its second phase of projects. Image: Lodestone Energy.

New Zealand solar developer Lodestone Energy has announced a partnership with the Haldon Station farm to build a 220MW agrivoltaic (agriPV) project in New Zealand, on its South Island.

The project will cover 340 hectares, around 1.5% of the total Haldon Station farmland, and Lodestone plans to begin construction next year. While the company did not specify which modules would be used at the project, it will add to a growing portfolio of solar projects in operation, with Lodestone currently operating the 33MW Kaitaia project, and the 32MW Rangitaiki project, on the country’s North Island.

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Lodestone has sought to expand its portfolio through two phases, the first of which saw five projects fully funded in 2022. The second phase, of which the Haldon project is a part, includes three other projects on South Island that the company aims to commission by 2026.

“We believe, from research and observation on other well-planned developments on the property, that the partial shade and shelter from the panels will result in a beneficial effect on the lands below and will result in revegetation of the original native fauna and flora,” explained Paddy Boyd, who has managed the Haldon Station farm for 42 years.

Boyd also noted that the 340 hectares given over to the solar project will be separated from the farm’s flora and fauna to allow for “full regeneration” of the area’s grasses, which Lodestone notes has suffered from wind erosion and pest infiltration in the past.

This combination of electricity generation from solar sources, and the effective management of the land, is a core component of agriPV, which has seen increased attention in recent months. Last year, the European Commission noted that the use of agriPV could single-handedly meet Europe’s solar deployment targets until the end of the decade. However, in the months since, Italy has banned new agriPV projects, raising questions about the future of the practice in the country.

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