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A new solar farm pitched for Greytown

A 235-hectare solar farm in Greytown is under consideration for resource consent.

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] made the decision to publicly notify the proposal on Friday evening, following a recommendation by a consultant planner processing the application.

The application by Far North Solar Farm Ltd proposes to establish a solar panel farm along State Highway 2 [SH2], Bidwills Cutting, and Moroa roads.

A council spokesperson confirmed it first received the application in July last year.

However, that application was ultimately rejected for not having sufficient information.

“The application was lodged again on December 23, 2022. The application has met the requirements … to be considered.

“Further information was requested by council and has subsequently been received.”

SWDC planning manager James Witham said the application comprised 40 inverter stations, photovoltaic solar panels that track the sun, reaching a maximum height of 4.5 metres and producing 175-megawatts of power during peak times across 235ha of land.

The proposal requires resource consent under the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.

“There were two matters that determined the proposal necessitated public notification,” Witham said.

He said the first consideration was the actual or potential landscape effects of the proposal “being more than minor” over the period of time for screening plants around the development to mature.

“The second was that council determined that details of the proposal amounted to ‘special circumstances’, which made notification necessary.”

The council said matters such as the extent of the proposal, being the first application of its kind in the district, and whether the effects of the proposal were anticipated in the district plan, were also part of that consideration.

It said the decision could be reviewed by the High Court.

The Far North Solar Farm proposal is one of two in the area. However, it is the first to proceed to a resource consent application.

Helios Energy made public a proposal for 190ha solar farm along Bidwills Cutting Rd, Kemptons Line, and SH2 in August last year.

The Times-Age reported last week, that Helios was months away from an application, with the company confirming it was refining the design following public consultation.

Witham said the Far North Solar Farm application had not yet been notified, and a date had not yet been set.

The council said should the applicant proceed with the application, notices would be placed in the local paper and on its website.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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