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Community solar farm project in Ōtaki

Infratec is working with Energise Ōtaki on an innovative solar farm project harvesting energy from the sun to fund local community energy projects.

The project includes a 107 kW ground-mounted solar farm at Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, generating power to run the wastewater treatment process; and a 23 kW roof-top solar farm at Ōtaki College, providing energy for the school.

Infratec is committed to giving Energise Ōtaki the best possible solution to generate the most energy possible within the grant money available, so we have taken an innovative open-book co-development approach. That means looking at all the cost options together, and then agreeing on the best possible solution for the money that is available.

The project will use the latest high power 440W panels — making the solar farm more compact and saving money on fencing and racking, to help get more output for money.

About 240 panels will be installed at the wastewater treatment plant and about 52 at the college.

The $407,000 project is being funded by the Wellington Community Trust. The school and the District Council are in the process of agreeing final rates for the energy they use — revenue that will go back into Energise Ōtaki’s community energy projects.  And the Council will have the added benefits of reducing its overall emissions as part of its greenhouse gas reduction targets (an estimated 17 tonnes a year across the two sites) — and having its energy spend going back into community energy projects.

The project is expected to be complete by October 2020 and the power generated will return about $25,000—$30,000 a year to Energise Ōtaki for at least 25 years, and a major return on the Wellington Community Trust’s original funding.