Kea Energy has commenced construction of the largest utility solar plant in New Zealand, with the 2.5 megawatt (MW) plant situated in Marlborough. Possibly a world first, the large-scale solar plant has partly been purchased using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Marlborough is known for its exceptional Sauvignon Blanc wine, and world-famous Queen Charlotte hiking track.
The region’s sunny climate will also benefit the large-scale solar plant as it tracks the sun. The estimated 4500-megawatt hours (MWh’s) per year of electricity generated is enough to power around 550 typical NZ households annually.
A partnership between solar panel manufacturer Yingli Solar and installation company Kea Energy enabled the companies to explore diversified transaction models that are secure and efficient using blockchain technology.
Kea Energy said the unique approach to solar system financing reduces upfront barriers to new large-scale solar projects whilst decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.
Managing Director of Yingli Solar Australia, Tim Feng, commented that economic savings for solar systems are highly predictable and proven by the financial modelling.
“New Zealand has 80 per cent of its electricity supplied by clean energy. However, we will need to work closely with our partners to achieve the government’s target of 90 per cent of electricity to be sourced from renewables by 2025,” Mr Feng said.
Yingli’s bifacial solar panels have a unique ability to generate power from the front and back sides of the panel. Utilising high-efficiency TOPCON cell technology, they capture a broad spectrum of direct and diffuse sunlight.
“We are proud to be the first company in New Zealand to install a multi-MW solar farm,” said Campbell McMath of Kea Energy.
“Our team will be executing the entire project including design, financial procurement, and installation as well as managing the grid connection process.”
The clean energy generated at the site will be sold to the local electricity market.