Tauhei solar farm
- Client Name
- Harmony Energy New Zealand
- Waikato, New Zealand
- CFD, wind & energy
- Land quality & remediation
- Landscape Architecture
Harmony Energy New Zealand needed consent to develop one of New Zealand’s largest solar farms, at 147 MW capacity in Te Aroha, Waikato and engaged the team to provide planning, ecology, landscape, iwi engagement, and contaminated land expertise.
The team have been working alongside Harmony Energy since 2019, scoping possible sites, consulting with iwi, investigating ecology, reviewing landscape impacts, assessing soil contamination and ultimately preparing the application for consent.
Due to the project’s significance, Harmony Energy was able to progress the application via the Fast Track legislation and achieved consent on 20 September 2022.
The Tauhei Solar Farm’s 182 hectares will be home to approximately 330,000 solar panels but still allows for the grazing of sheep, between and under the panel arrays. The project also includes the restoration and creation of approximately 7ha of restored wetland, the retention of roosting trees for native bats (pekapeka-tou-roa), extensive riparian planting, boundary planting over a 12ha area and a network of indigenous species planted as biodiversity corridors. The design reflects a shared vision between Harmony and the 4Sight (now part of SLR) team to develop solar farms that are culturally sensitive, responsive to the landscape and ecologically enriching.
Once completed, on an annual basis, the Tauhei Solar Farm will supply the equivalent electricity needs of about 30,000 houses - approximately the size of Hamilton city and will help support New Zealand’s net zero ambition. It is expected to be operational in 2025.
Harmony also has a project pipeline of more than 500 MWs of capacity in New Zealand. In addition to the Tauhei Solar Farm, the team is continuing to work with Harmony to support the development of future renewable energy projects.
“We are thrilled this important renewable development can now proceed. Renewable energy is critical to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and help support New Zealand’s net zero ambition.”Pete Grogan, Harmony Director