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New generation energy is here: Lodestone Energy breaks ground on first solar farm

New generation energy is here: Lodestone Energy breaks ground on first solar farm

Lodestone Energy, leading solar energy company, has turned soil on what will be the country’s first utility-scale solar farm in Kaitaia.

Groundwork has commenced at the company’s Kaitaia solar farm. The first of Lodestone’s 60,000 solar panels will be installed in February 2023, and power generation is expected in the third quarter of 2023. The site is expected to generate 55 GWh of power a year.

Gary Holden, Managing Director of Lodestone Energy, says breaking ground is an enormous milestone.

“For years we’ve had a vision to deliver Aotearoa’s largest solar project, giving New Zealanders an alternative power option and playing a key role in meeting the country’s zero carbon goals.

“We have also worked closely with local iwi, namely Te Rarawa, to ensure we’re delivering for the local community.”

The ground-breaking event brought together Lodestone’s team and board, as well as iwi and construction partners to recognise the need for solar energy generation at scale to improve Aotearoa.

“Beyond the energy we’re generating, we’re also reforesting seven hectares with native trees. Then once the solar panels are installed our design allows machinery and livestock to happily exist around the solar arrays, meaning agriculture and grazing can continue,” says Holden.

The company already has four further solar farms planned in Dargaville, Waiotahe Valley, Edgecumbe and Whitianga, and is already looking for the next sites it will build farms on.

“While we’re proud to see works commence in Kaitaia, this is just the beginning. We have a full construction pipeline already during the next 30 months. Together our first five farms will generate enough energy to power 50,000 homes, or a city the size of Hamilton,” says Holden.

Lodestone has also signed retail agreements with Pulse Energy and Prime Energy to give New Zealanders access to their own virtual solar roof top, via energy plans with these companies.

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