Best Large Business Award 2019

Winner: Mercury

In 2019 Mercury made significant contribution to New Zealand’s solar profile, drawing on all aspects of its business to help deliver very different outcomes to the solar and environmental community across grid connected systems, support of small business, community projects, environmental projects and innovation:

  • Support of the Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua with a Tesla battery and 11kWp solar system, providing 15 hours of energy back up in the event of a power cut keeping kiwi eggs at the right temperature 
  • The delivery of a solar calculator via its website, - Mercury committed significant resource this year to deliver a solar calculator which would take into account regional lines pricing to provide New Zealanders with a tool to evaluate the financial payback of a solar system. 
  • The installation of the Rakau Nursery solar and battery installation, which demonstrated how SMA equipment can be used to provide peak load protection for a commercial business 
  • The installation of 3 free solar systems on Decile 1 schools in the Auckland region helping to deliver real financial support to our poorer communities and help to expose solar to the wider community;
  • Technical and supply support to Ecoefficient Solutions NZ in Hawkes Bay, who delivered the Arataki honey solar installation 
  • Support of Big street Biker Rechargery by the installation of an off grid system on a mobile E Bike shop. We love that it encouraged over 2500 people to give e.bikes a try across what’s now expanded to two Rechargerys! 
  • This combined with the ongoing R&D centre at 202 Hugo Johnston Drive in Southdown, which features a 60kW ground mount array for customers and where the first and only 2MWh grid connected tesla Power Pack is installed to test the viability and process of using batteries to support the national grid.

As the only grid connected battery in NZ Mercury are using the Tesla Power pack to negotiate and lobby a change to the electricity code for the reserves market, which we expect to happen by the end of 2019. Currently in order to benefit from the reserves market (designed to provide stability to the national grid) you need to either be a fast response generator, or interruptible load. The current requirement for fast response generation however, specifies the type of generation that would be appropriate, thus excluding battery technology. So currently Mercury only get paid for charging their battery normally, rather than for releasing its energy into the grid. If enacted this legislative change could materially change the economics of battery technology in the longer term, by enabling battery owners to be paid for feeding into the grid in the future at times of energy stress.

These are all examples of how Mercury as a whole has become engaged in the solar business as another renewable energy source, with significant investment (in the case of the solar calculator) both in terms of money and time. 

Mercury’s operational and sales staff have been driving to achieve an improved customer service with customer satisfaction surveys now showing that 72% of customers are very happy with the service provided, from sale to ROI and final invoice. 

 

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Runner-up: Vector Powersmart

PowerSmart has had a successful 2019 year, enabling customers across New Zealand, and helping the Pacific Island nations to offset diesel generation with renewable, clean solar power. 

Key Achievements in 2019: 

  • The recent completion of its solar, battery and management system in Aitutaki that’s estimated to provide almost a quarter of their annual energy needs and will save 243,000 litres of diesel from being burnt every year.
  • The successful partnership between Vector Powersmart, The New Zealand Aid Programme (MFAT) and Niuean government to install a game-changing renewable energy solution, BESS and energy management system for the people of Niue. The Niue Renewable Energy Project is helping Niue move toward its goal of 80% renewable electricity by 2025. Vector Powersmart managed all design, integration, procurement, logistics, civil works, construction and commissioning for this project.
  • The collaboration with Watercare Services Auckland to deliver a large floating solar array, capable of producing enough power to run 200 New Zealand homes for a year, and soon to be floating on top of the Rosedale wastewater pond on Auckland’s North Shore. The installation is significant as it will be New Zealand’s first floating 1 megawatt solar plant.

Vector Powersmart has dedicated the past decade to the massive development and investment in renewable energy, centered around solar electricity and large-scale batteries. It pioneered, alongside a small handful of solar dedicated integrators, the New Zealand solar market with the development of New Zealand first Commercial PPA and largest grid-tied system ever built (Yealands Winery). It also led the charge in the South Pacific region developing solutions supporting to battle the effects of global warming due to rising sea levels, and the need to reduce carbon emissions. 

2019 has been a year that required a lot of grit from a dedicated passionate team. The results speak for themselves;

Results; late 2018 to 2019 (Vector Powersmart projects awarded, in progress or completed in 2019)

Commercial Solar late 2018 to 2019

  • Zespri, grid-tied solar, Tauranga, NZ - 61kW
  • Waipa Networks Block D grid-tied solar, Hamilton, NZ - 65 kW
  • Waipa Networks Block F grid-tied solar, Hamilton, NZ - 130kw
  • Tarewa Mall Extension grid-tied solar, Whangarei, NZ - 31kW
  • Watercare Wastewater treatment Ground mount grid-tied solar, Welford, NZ - 66kW
  • DB Schienker grid-tied solar, Auckland, NZ - 26 kW
  • Maori Battalion museum grid-tied solar, Waitangi, NZ -114kW
  • Watercare floating grid-tied solar farm, Auckland NZ - 1040kW (1MW)
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond grid-tied solar - 102kW
  • Bidfoods grid-tied solar, Auckland, NZ - 30kW
  • Aitutaki Solar offgrid solar farm, ADB funded - 736 kW 
  • Niue Solar offgrid solar farm, MFAT funded - 600 kW

TOTAL 3 MW 

BESS late 2018 to 2019

  • Kawakawa Bay - 1.06MW/1.69 MWh
  • Hobsonville Vector Network BESS, NZ - 1.06MW/2.12 MWh
  • Tapora Vector Network BESS, NZ - 1.15MW/1.25 MWh
  • Glenorchy extension BESS, NZ - 0.1 MW / 0.45 MWh
  • Rarotonga Airport, ADB funded BESS - 2.6 MW/10.5 MWh
  • Aitutaki, ADB funded BESS - 0.5 MW / 0.5 MWh
  • Niue, MFAT funded BESS - 0.8 MW / 3.15 MWh

TOTAL 7.3 MW / 19.7 MWh 

ELECTRIFICATION OF TRANSPORTATION (EV) late 2018 to 2019

  • Piha V2H project ‚ deployment of two EVs and two vehicles to home units at Piha to power homes during local network outages. Co-funded by EECA
  • Smart EV charging project. Implementation of smart EV charger across 120 Auckland homes to understand the impact of managed charging on both on the local network and on customer behavior
  • Enabling Waiheke island to become the first fully electrified island in the world. Deployment of 80 smart residential EV chargers, 10 public chargers, and one mobile charger on the island. Co-funded by EECA

INNOVATION late 2018 to 2019  

  • Smart pole installation, Jellicoe Street, AKL CBD
  • Proprietary Multi-functional modular smart pole with IOT, surveillance, street lighting, digital display screen, seating made from recycled timber power poles and proprietary EV charger integration.

Vector Powersmart has also committed to being carbon neutral by 2030

  • The headquarters building is powered grid-tied solar, lit by LEDs, and now has a  brand new suite of EV chargers
  • Partial EV fleet implemented and will achieve a fully electric fleet by 2022 including industrial vehicles
  • Full internal waste recycling and composting program in place
  • Vector Powersmart has developed its strategy to align to Vector’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs).

 

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