New Zealand developer prepares 1GW PV pipeline with Google exec’s backing

The company counts a senior Google executive among its first investors. Image: Lightsource bp.

New Zealand-based energy developer Helios Energy has unveiled a pipeline of 1GW of grid-connected solar projects to be developed in the country.

The new company has gathered developers from the United States and New Zealand to develop grid-scale solar developments in New Zealand with the leadership team bringing its global experience that has led development over 2GW of renewable energy projects across different regions including North America, the UK or Asia.

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Moreover, Helios is backed by a senior Google executive, Urs Hölzle, who led the Google team that developed the US tech company’s carbon-free by 2030 commitment. Hölzle made a private investment of Series A capital into the company and its solar pipeline in New Zealand.

Jason McDonald, director at Helios, said: “We’re hugely excited about the opportunity to take a lead role in transforming New Zealand’s energy sector in service of meeting New Zealand’s climate change commitments and democratising participation in our energy system.”

McDonald added the company will be making announcements over the coming months about site developments and resource consent applications with Helios committed to build partnerships with landowners, communities and tangata whenua (“people of the land”).

New Zealand’s solar industry is still nascent as it only represents 0.5% of the country’s total electricity supply with 201MW of installed grid as of March 2022, according to The Electricity Authority (EMI).

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