Harmony Energy and First Renewables announce joint venture for the development of New Zealand’s largest solar farm

Written by
Jack Kelly
Global renewable energy infrastructure developer, Harmony Energy Limited has entered a joint venture with First Renewables Limited, part of New Zealand energy group Clarus (formerly Firstgas Group), to develop and own Tauhei Solar Farm. At the time of commissioning in 2026, it is expected to be New Zealand’s largest solar farm at 150 MWac, constructed on 182 hectares near Te Aroha in the North Island.

Subject to obtaining all necessary consents and approvals, the solar farm’s approximately 330,000 solar panels will generate over 270 GWh per year, enough renewable electricity to supply the equivalent of approximately 35,000 New Zealand homes. The project, qualified for fast-track consenting via the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Act 2020 because of its economic and environmental benefits, gaining consent in October 2022.

Since that time, the project has been further developed, with a final investment decision expected later this year, pending regulatory approvals. Following this, construction is also expected to commence this year.

Harmony Energy Director Pete Grogan said: “We are thrilled to have entered a partnership with First Renewables, ensuring that New Zealand’s largest solar farm has the backing of experienced renewable energy companies.

“The Tauhei Solar Farm will be a project that the Waikato and the whole of New Zealand can be proud of. It will support our ambitions to reduce emissions, enhance energy security and help mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

“It will also create opportunities for local businesses, employment and significant biodiversity gains, as well as being able to generate energy alongside continued farming production.”

Clarus GM Future Fuels, James Irvine said: “We are excited to be combining our expertise with Harmony Energy to develop and deliver this important renewable energy project, in line with Clarus’ commitment to help drive the decarbonisation of New Zealand’s energy system.

“Utility-scale solar generation presents a significant, complimentary, and largely untapped source of renewable energy in New Zealand, as proven in many markets overseas.

“This project is an opportunity for us to build on our desire to deliver renewable energy to meet the needs of energy consumers.”

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