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Carterton warming to ‘community-scale’ solar

Wairarapa’s first solar farm is only a few months away from starting construction, with the project set to be completed by the middle of next year.

The development is destined for Norfolk Rd on half of a 12-hectare lifestyle farm site and will generate enough electricity to power up to 1500 local houses.

Backing the project is Light Years Solar, a New Zealand-owned and operated company that, according to its website, works with landowners interested in renewable energy.

Due to the smaller size of the development and the fact that all power will be used within Powerco’s network, Light Years Solar development manager Matt Shanks said it fits the description of “community scale”.

“Community-scale means the power is used within the local distribution network and usually that the scale of the site is a couple of paddocks, rather than several properties,” he said.

Works for the project are due to start in January and are expected to take up to six months.

Shanks said geotechnical and topographical surveys of the site, as well as planting and fencing, will be completed before the end of the year.

“We have had a number of local contractors reach out who are keen to be involved in the construction,” Shanks said.

“We would like to involve local contractors in the project as much as we can.”

When the solar farm is completed, Shanks said all the power will be consumed within the local power network, which includes Masterton township.

“But we expect a lot of the power will be used by the industrial businesses in Waingawa, like the timber mill,” Shanks said.

“The figure of 1500 homes is a useful way to visualise the amount of power being generated.

“We sell the power to an energy retailer who then on-sells the power to consumers.”

Although there might be a “marginal reduction” in the local area’s power pricing due to the reduction of imported energy, Shanks predicts there will be other contributing factors to energy costs.

“The larger solar farms planned in Wairarapa may also contribute to this,” Shanks said.

“The solar farm inverters also provide some support to the local network by improving power quality at certain times.”


  1. Why not build a massive one on the desert road 😉 🤔 Why use farm and home land. These solar power and wind turbines farms will never supply the our power needs, they are a very expensive dream 😳.

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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