Hawkes Bay Airport has signed a joint venture agreement with Waipukurau based lines company Centralines to explore the potential for a commercial solar farm to be set up at the Airport.

The companies will work through a structured project development process to select technical partners and progress the project to an investment ready state. The intent beyond this is to establish a limited liability partnership through which a viable project could be funded and developed. It is anticipated that the project will be constructed in stages with resource consents to be sought for a plant capable of producing up to 10 MW of electricity.

The airport has been investigating the potential of a renewable energy project for some time and sees investment in this area as an effective way of diversifying revenue and contributing to its broader sustainability framework. To this end, the project will not only generate sufficient electricity to meet the airports own requirements, but also supply surplus energy to others looking for renewable supply of electricity.

The area identified for development of the solar project is to the west of the airport’s main runway. An on-airport solar project of this magnitude would be a first in New Zealand. However, such solar projects inside airports are growing in number across the world. The initial stage of construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2021.