4Sight – Part of SLR has supported Harmony Energy NZ gain consent to develop one of New Zealand’s largest solar farms, at 147 MW capacity in Te Aroha, Waikato. On an annual basis, it will supply the equivalent electricity needs of about 30,000 houses – which is approximately the size of Hamilton City.
4Sight is proud to have worked with Harmony since 2019, to start scoping possible sites, consult with iwi, investigate ecology, review landscape impacts, assess soil contamination and ultimately prepare the application for consent. Reflecting the project’s significance, Harmony progressed the application via the Fast Track legislation - a two-step process first requiring acceptance by the Minster for the application to be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority for a decision, achieving 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 4Sight to develop solar farms that are culturally sensitive, responsive to the landscape and ecologically enriching.
Harmony has a project pipeline of more than 500 MWs of capacity in New Zealand. In addition to the Tauhei Solar Farm currently under construction, 4Sight is continuing to work with Harmony to support the development of future renewable energy projects.