SEANZ awards celebrate successes and acknowledge achievement in the sustainable energy industry

Our 2023 Aotearoa Industry Award winners

This category recognises innovative outside the box thinking, based on a solution or solutions that challenge traditional models & ways of doing things. Submission may be a technology solution, a process to achieve better outcomes for PV and/or BESS, a new PV based business model, and/or a different approach to a common problem around PV installation. It should challenge existing processes or technology with the ability to be scaled & made available to the wider industry/markets.

Winner: Our Energy
for Kia Whitingia (for Reureu Kotahitanga Limited), Halcombe, New Zealand

Through Our Energy's purpose built energy sharing platform and associated retail service, our challenge was to capture as much community value as possible for Kia Whitingia, an energy collective based in Manawatū. Kia Whitingia is currently made up of 5 marae and 3 whānau with solar, plus 12 other whānau, all with whakapapa links to local marae / hapū. The project was initially made possible via MBIE's Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund. Kia Whitingia comes from a proverb, ‘kia whitingia e te rā kia puhia e te hau’ - to be shone upon and blown by the wind.

Our Energy operates Aotearoa New Zealand's only dedicated energy sharing platform and associated retail service. At the heart of this innovation is using our proprietary software algorithms based on half-hourly smart meter interval data to create energy transactions between multiple community participants (a process that we refer to as 'matching'). No Excel spreadsheets are harmed. Community value is captured in two main ways:

  1. enabling Kia Whitingia to trade their own locally produced energy at $0.06 / kWh (~60% cheaper than market); and
  2. allowing excess over and above their local trades to be sold on to the New Zealand wholesale electricity market, to be channelled into a community fund or 'pool' for later redistribution amongst community members. In this way, short-term wholesale price risk is in fact circulated back into the community as a medium/long-term benefit. 

This innovation provides for an efficient way of capturing maximum community value in situations and setups involving multiple 'host' ICPs of distributed energy resources. Access to a 'community manager' dashboard is provided to Kia Whitingia, which provides a community-level view of demand, supply and trading insights. The community is then able to use this data to make informed decisions about further energy related investments that it might make and/or demand management initiatives and strategies that could be employed.

Kia Whitingia is now in full operational mode with the planned addition of further members and over $10,000 has already been distributed to the community since the project started. We are showing how existing electricity market systems and processes can, with the right partners, investment and incentives, provide benefits for communities who wish to take a more active or direct role in the energy transition and, in doing so, be empowered to exercise rangatiratanga to help address energy hardship for their whānau. Kia Whitingia’s business model is fully scalable and can be made available to other communities.

Find out more about Our Energy >

Runner Up: solarZero
for The solarZero VPP

The challenge was to use distributed household battery resources to help meet winter peak demand. The batteries work as a virtual power plant which means they are aggregated and made visible to Transpower just like a conventional power station. That enables them to be dispatched. solarZero was the first to use the new “dispatch notified load” (DNL) system that went live in the wholesale market in April this year. At the end of winter solarZero has provided 30MW peak, 22MW in the North Island and 8MW in the South Island and created a world first – dispatchable distributed batteries.

Dispatching (via the formal dispatch process) household batteries to help meet peak electricity demand has been discussed in the literature but has never actually been done. The challenge is to make the amount of energy available visible to the dispatch system (run by Transpower) and to communicate a dispatch instruction from Transpower to thousands of batteries within a few seconds and to communicate back to Transpower what the batteries are doing in near real time.
The key to being dispatched is visibility and reliability. To ensure the power system remains stable, Transpower must know what is happening minute by minute. solarZero developed the communication and IT infrastructure so that 8,000 batteries could be seen and instructed by Transpower via the wholesale market.

The out of the box thinking is that at the push of a button solarZero increased the number of generators that Transpower could dispatch from 200 to around 8,200. That is a massive increase in the number of systems. To our knowledge, this is the first time in the world that a system operator has full view of distributed household batteries and can dispatch them, just like they can dispatch a normal power station.
Transpower created two “power stations” for solarZero; one in the North Island and one in the South Island. solarZero’s household batteries were aggregated to these two power stations.

To add to the complexity of this project, Transpower used an entirely new dispatch system for the first time. This system, dispatch notified load, was implemented in April this year as part of the Real Time Pricing project. solarZero is the first user of this new system. Both Transpower and solarZero had to work together to test and validate this new dispatch system.

This project has demonstrated and proved that aggregated distributed energy resources can participate and be price-dispatched in a liberalised wholesale electricity market. With 8,000 system participating, which grew the number of generators that Transpower could dispatch by 4,000% in one step, solarZero has proved out the concept of a virtual power plant.

In August 2021 the lights went out for around 30,000 households around New Zealand. The industry did not want to see that occur again.

We worked closely with Transpower, Ara Ake (who provided funding for this innovation pilot) and the Electricity Authority to understand both the regulatory and the technical aspects of enrolling thousands of batteries into the dispatch system. The VPP concept had to work both technically and had to comply with the requirements of the Electricity Code. This development builds on the work that solarZero did with Transpower and the Electricity Authority to develop a reserves product into the electricity market. 

Transpower developed two power stations for solarZero, one in the North Island and one in the South Island. solarZero then tagged its systems to each of the power stations. solarZero needed to develop a dispatch end point through which solarZero communicated with the dispatch system. Transpower decided that dispatch notified load (DNL) was the most appropriate mechanism within the suite of dispatch mechanisms. The challenge was that DNL was new and had never been used before.Together with our technology partner Panasonic, we built and tested a centralized system for instructing thousands of batteries within seconds. This innovation took considerable development and testing. Transpower required that the systems could be partially discharged. For example, we may offer 30MW but Transpower may wish to dispatch only for say 10MW. We needed to acknowledge the dispatch instruction and discharge the level specified by Transpower – not a trivial issue given the “power station” involves some 8,000 individual battery systems. A further challenge was using DNL for the first time, which operates in reverse to the way the normal dispatch system works. Under this system solarZero had to offer maximum capacity at $20,000/MWh when it did not want to be dispatched and then drop the price and offer zero load when it wanted to be dispatched. As a consequence of the learnings further changes will be made to the Electricity Code to address the issues that this project encountered with DNL.

Transpower were able to dispatch the solarZero batteries via two virtual power plants, one in the North Island and one in the South, i.e. the system worked. To our knowledge this is the first time distributed household battery resources have been dispatched in a power system globally. This ground breaking project points to the future where VPP technology can become an integral and reliable part of the power system. At the push of a button the number of dispatchable power stations increased from 200 to 8,200. The future has arrived.

Find out more about solarZero >

A grid-connected renewable system must be connected to the national grid and include onsite renewable generation and it may also include energy storage and load control in the system.

Winner: Sunergise
for Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand

A 204-kilowatt Grid Connect Solar Energy System was supplied and installed at Parliament House to reduce load on the main switchboard, lower carbon emissions, and promote renewable energy. This involved designing, certifying (PS1, PS2 & PS4), and ensuring safety for a quality installation. It had to integrate with existing Building Management System and backup generators, posing security and wiring challenges. The installation involved various stakeholders, including Parliamentary Services, Stephenson & Turner, The Building Intelligence Group, and Gamcorp, with a strong focus on documentation control and dedicated project management to ensure meticulous adherence to all aspects of the project.Sunergise collaborated closely with Parliamentary consultants and the Wellington City Council to ensure the 204-kilowatt Grid Connect Solar Energy System at Parliament House met heritage and Parliamentary Services' stringent requirements. The selection of equipment was meticulous, considering ethical material sourcing, manufacturing processes, warranty, and visual impact on the heritage building. REC TwinPeak Black solar panels were chosen for their low-reflective, black-edged appearance that seamlessly blended with the roof's aesthetics.

SMA Solar Inverters were employed due to their industry-leading reputation. The installation involved bespoke-designed timber plinths, meeting PS4 standards and subject to Wellington City Council inspections, overlaid with weather-tight membrane. Cables from the inverters to the bespoke PV-DB followed PS4 standards, accounting for Parliament House's seismic foundation alterations, allowing for building movement.
The system design had to harmonize with backup generators crucial for Parliament's continuity during grid outages or emergencies. This complex design incorporated additional fail-safes due to Parliament House's critical importance. Integration with the building management system required intricate planning, close coordination with Parliamentary Services and their IT department.
In summary, Sunergise meticulously designed and installed the solar energy system at Parliament House, considering heritage and safety requirements, ethical considerations, and complex integration needs, ensuring a seamless and reliable renewable energy solution for this iconic institution.

Solar installations on government buildings send powerful messages about sustainable energy. Sunergise took on the task of installing solar panels at Parliament House, aiming to showcase solar energy without disrupting daily operations and maintaining top-level security. The project, the most complex and challenging for the team in New Zealand, went beyond its size, requiring intricate design and implementation. It serves as a significant achievement not only for Sunergise but also for the broader solar community in New Zealand, highlighting the importance of renewable energy at a national level.


Find out more about Sunergise >

Runner up: ESolar
for Tasman Residential PV System

In collaboration with our client, we designed a comprehensive scope of work that met their unique requirements. It was to involve the installation of a ground-mounted solar system, preserving the aesthetics of their two-story home. The primary goal was to offset the summer energy consumption generated by both the home and Airbnb on the property. Despite the property's three-phase connection, the client wanted to incorporate battery backup for enhanced reliability.
To maximise solar consumption, hot water control integration was discussed. While also making provisions for future electric vehicle charging and expandable emergency circuit power, ensuring adaptability to changing energy needs.

To seamlessly integrate solar power without compromising the aesthetic of our clients two-story home, we opted for a ground-mounted frame. This innovative design, recessed into the hillside, not only maintains the visual appeal of their property but also ensures that their solar panels receive optimal sunlight exposure. This approach maximizes energy generation. The solar system features two Fronius 6kW inverters, each serving a distinct purpose. The 6kW Gen 24 Plus inverter is dedicated to the red phase, offering full emergency backup capabilities. This means that even during power outages or low-sunlight periods, the essential night loads and emergency circuits receive back up supply.
For energy storage and backup power, we integrated the BYD HVM 13.8kWh Battery with the 6kW Gen 24 Plus inverter. This high-capacity battery not only provides reliable energy storage but is also expandable, accommodating future energy needs should they arise. With the potential to expand up to 56kWh, clients have the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements while maintaining a robust backup power source.
Efficient energy management was a top priority, and we achieved this through the integration of the Fronius OHM Pilot. This innovative technology communicates wirelessly with their home, specifically controlling hot water diversion. By optimising the use of excess solar energy for water heating, they reduce their reliance on conventional energy sources, leading to increased energy efficiency and cost savings. The use of Fronius products would allow easy integration of the Fronius Watt Pilot’s, enabling our clients seamless electric vehicle charging and adaptability in the future.
In conclusion, the design of this solar system reflects our commitment to delivering a tailored and sustainable energy solution that precisely meets our clients current and future energy needs. From preserving the aesthetics of their property to ensuring back up energy supply, optimising energy consumption, and providing room for future expansion, every element of this solar system has been thoughtfully selected to provide them with a reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly energy solution.

This project exemplifies our commitment to excellence in solar solutions. We've surpassed our customer's expectations on multiple fronts:

Resilience: Our system provides full emergency backup, ensuring continuous power supply during outages.
Aesthetics: Thoughtful design preserves the property's beauty, seamlessly blending functionality and aesthetics.
Efficiency: Our solution maximizes energy generation and minimizes waste, benefiting both the environment and the customer's finances.
Smart and Cutting-Edge: Incorporating advanced technology, automation, and ethically sourced components showcases our dedication to innovation and sustainability.
By excelling in these areas, we've not only met but exceeded our customer's vision, making this project truly deserving of recognition.


Find out more about ESolar >

An off-grid renewable system must be completely independent of the national grid and incorporate onsite renewable generation & energy storage.

Joint Winner: ESolar and Infinite Energy


for Off-Grid Community in Little Wanganui, Karamea

In close collaboration with the client, we embarked on a project of exceptional scope and ambition. Our mission was clear: to design and install a fully Off-Grid power system that would serve as the lifeblood of two tiny homes housing three full-time occupants, a bustling butchery equipped with two chillers, a medium-sized gym frequented by locals, and an array of outbuildings and workshops.
This endeavour reflects our unwavering commitment to providing customised energy solutions that not only cater to the unique needs of our clients but also tackle the distinctive challenges presented by remote environments.

Our journey with the client began with a meticulous assessment of their energy needs, a process that involved advising them on the most energy-efficient options available. This initial step was crucial in laying the foundation for a tailored energy solution. To ensure precision, we proceeded to create a comprehensive load profile, meticulously designed to cater to the diverse energy requirements of the tiny homes, butchery, gym, and workshop on the property.

One of our key decisions was to opt for a ground-mounted solar array. This choice was driven by our commitment to long-term efficiency and ease of maintenance. The ground-mounted array not only maximised solar energy production but also simplified upkeep, ensuring that the system continues to perform optimally.

Additionally, recognising the remote nature of the location, we prioritised the implementation of web-based monitoring and control systems. This feature allows us to remotely oversee and manage the system, providing real-time insights into its performance. It ensures that the energy solution operates seamlessly, even in challenging and distant settings.

Another critical aspect of our design was scalability. We engineered the system with future growth in mind, aligning it with the client's expanding businesses. Whether its accommodating new structures or evolving energy needs, the system is primed for easy expansion. This flexibility ensures that the energy solution remains robust and adaptable, evolving with the client's enterprises.

Furthermore, we incorporated plans for a future home to be built on the property into our design. This forward-thinking approach underscores our commitment to delivering holistic energy solutions that not only meet current demands but also anticipate future requirements. It ensures that as the property evolves, the energy system can seamlessly integrate with new developments.

In summary, our energy solution is the result of meticulous planning and client collaboration. It's a ground-mounted solar array designed for efficiency, equipped with web-based monitoring, and built with scalability in mind. This holistic approach not only caters to the client's current energy needs but also positions them for sustainable growth while embracing the potential of a future home on the property.This project not only met but far exceeded our client's expectations, successfully powering the Gym, butchery, workshop, and tiny homes on an off-grid system. What distinguishes this installation and makes it deserving of recognition is our unwavering commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. By prioritising sustainable practices and incorporating ethically sourced products, we've not only fulfilled our client's energy needs but also contributed positively to the environment and society. This holistic approach reflects our dedication to responsible and environmentally conscious energy solutions, making it a shining example of how innovation and ethics can intersect to create a truly noteworthy project.


Find out more about E Solar >

Infinite Energy:
for Dingleburn Station, Lake Hawea

Dingleburn Station relied solely on hydro power for their energy supply - with the solar required to increase production during shoulder seasons and peak summer when the hydro resource is less reliable... and when water is also required for irrigation. Battery storage also provides back up in the event of the hydro turbine blocking during heavy rain or ice melt.Installation of 28kW solar PV to support pre-existing hydro power. Victron quattro inverters allow hydro current to pass through inverters - with surplus energy able to charge batteries before going to dump loads. Introduction of 30kWh battery storage allows greater continuity of power supply in the event of disruption to the hydro flow - and the solar generation compensates for the loss in hydro production during summer months, delivering near seamless energy access year round. Installation was a challenging exercise beginning with the most important consideration - access.

Dingleburn is very remote, with a narrow single lane track cut into bluffs above the Eastern shores of Lake Hawea. Stock are moved on foot approximately 10km before the road allows for heavy vehicle access.
As such, concrete could not be poured for footings - all mounting had to be driven timber piles... with all solar hardware brought in to site one Hilux load at a time.
Each visit to site required careful planning to ensure no traffic (vehicles or stock) were scheduled to be coming in the other direction... as a U-turn was not an option!

Dingleburn had previously had a large (90kVa) diesel genset for back up power and to boost production during irrigation periods. This is now largely redundant through the carefully oriented solar arrays - which provide consistent generation during daylight hours.

The Dingleburn installation is a great example of the marriage of new technologies into an ageing, existing hydro scheme. The use of solar & batteries gives greater resilience, great access to water for irrigation - and brings reliability to the power system. Solar & batteries ensure no more middle of the night missions to the hydro inlet during storms to clear rocks and ice to maintain power! 


Find out more about Infinite Energy >

The MCKAY Best Community Energy Project must contribute to the social fabric of a community, enriching its people and inhabitants’ lives using renewable energy. It must have helped the local community & improved their way of life with measurable and meaningful outcomes.

Winner: Hubands Energy
for Te Poari o Ngātiwai Project

Having developed a strong relationship with Te Poari o Ngātiwai, when MBIE announced the 2022 funding for the Maori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund, we immediately reached out to see if any whānau in their iwi could benefit from this fund. Huhana Lyndon spearheaded the application, working with us to source funding for 75.24kW of grid connected solar to be installed on eight Ngātiwai Marae in Te Tai Tokerau. The project was spread from Whangaruru (Tūparehuia, Ngāiotonga, Otetao Reti, Ōakura, Mōkau), Tūtūkākā (Matapōuri, Ngunguru) and Omaha (Pākiri).

It was very important to us that the solution we provided was both reliable and easily monitorable.  With an industry leading 25 year product warranty, Sunpower AC solar panels, including built in Enphase microinverters, were the logical choice.  The Enphase IQ Gateway communication device ensures we can monitor both production and consumption at each of the marae. The size of the system to be installed at each marae was determined during the site assessment that was carried out with our representative and the komiti once funding had been approved.  The komiti were very particular about which roof they wanted the solar system installed on, so the number of panels came down to what would physically fit on that roof. We collaborated with Nau Mai Rā, the first kaupapa Māori power company in Aotearoa, to establish a virtual power hub where the marae could provide their whānau with free, or low cost, power.

As the cost of living crisis has gripped the country, it’s those in lower socio-economic situations that are suffering the most.  Power poverty, especially in Māori households, is a significant problem negatively impacting whānau who are often unable to heat their homes.  This has seen an increase of respiratory illnesses and other preventable health conditions, such as rheumatic fever, in Māori. Our collaboration with Te Poari o Ngātiwai and Nau Mai Rā has ensured that not only will the marae benefit from lower power costs, but also the wider iwi and whānau. 

Find out more about Hubands Energy >

Runner Up: McNae Group 
for Kia Whitingia (Reureu Kotahitanga Limited), Halcombe


Our brief was to establish an energy cooperative to partner with marae and whānau to build energy generation capacity that can then be used to supply whanau with energy at affordable rates to help reduce the instances of energy poverty amongst whanau.
In collaboration with Graeme Everton and under the banner of Kia Whitingai project funded by Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund, we approached a number of maraes about partnering with this project. Consequently, we installed solar energy systems on five marae buildings and three permanently owned Trust/whānau homes and ten families, 

In order to deliver low cost energy to the local community, we were able to install 322 119KWp panels, across five marae and three houses and connect them to a battery in order to store energy and give it back or sell it to community members. This will be done via an energy trading platform with the aim of the collective reducing the overall cost of electricity to all members.

The most significant solutions for the community were:
Kia Whitingia is enabled to trade with their own community at $0.06 / kWh (~60% cheaper than market)
An excess of energy is able to be stored and then sold on to the New Zealand wholesale electricity market, these funds are then channeled back into a community fund which can be later redistributed back to community members
There is significant potential to grow this initiative once the wider community sees the benefits and is able to foresee how they could push this into the next phase.
Last winter, $10,000 worth of energy was able to be sold and then was distributed back into the community as a ‘winter energy subsidy’, at a time where most households find an increase in their power bill, these community homes connected with Kia Whitingia were able to receive this subsidy.
Palmerston North (which is in the same zone as the Kia Whitingia ICPs) has an average price of 33.43 cents per kWh. In comparison, Kia Whitingia customers have been averaging around 29 cents per kWh (and that's based on winter bills) - 12% less than the average in their region.
This is significant in times of rising household costs and we believe it is a great success. Notwithstanding the added benefits of a battery and other load control devices in the future. This project has led the way, with a second to follow in the emergency house sector.

Through solar installation, the local community recognises the positive environmental impact this has through using a sustainable power source that doesn’t impact the water ways.
Another improvement is the ability to energy bank, sell back to the grid and store power for use once the battery is installed. The local community will be able to benefit from the stored battery power, especially when the battery is discharged at high priced electricity times of the day.
This installation lets the community save money, have a positive environmental impact and be able to support the local community through power sharing.

Kia Whitingia is now fully functioning and the community is already seeing the benefits, with over $10,000 fed back into their local whare’s and maraes. The installation of a 36 KW 120KWh battery is imminent and this will enable ongoing tracking, as well as further energy cost reductions through stored electricity. We are also in close contact with our local lines company, with a view to investigate how the battery can assist with things such as grid support. Building something that is scalable and repeatable has always been our goal.

Kia whitingia site birds eye view school building front view with solar panels on the roof

Find out more about McNae Group >

This category recognises business excellence within the renewable energy market segment. It celebrates businesses that have developed and grown whilst making a positive contribution to society, the industry and all stakeholders – customers, employees, and shareholders.

Winner: Greener Solar

Greener was founded by Hamish Lee, a passionate engineer and environmentalist from Hawke’s Bay, NZ in 2018. His commitment to solar energy and the positive environmental impacts it has, saw him installing solar systems from the Himalayan mountains to the African deserts.
We’re serious about what we do, but we’re also a super friendly bunch, dedicated to our clients, the environment and doing a great job.
We are based in Hawkes Bay and service our local area from Central Hawkes Bay out to the coast and as far north as Mahia and Gisborne.

Greener’s business development has happened organically through positive word of mouth referrals and working with some wonderful clients and partners who share our values and beliefs. Greener Solar has whakapapa to Ngati Kahungunu through our founder Hamish Lee, and brings an intergenerational approach to our business thinking long term and the values of Kaitiakitanga.  

We put our best foot forward through our products and services with our all inhouse team of designers and installers to provide a seamless solution. We have supported our local community through working with providers working on energy hardship and community investment. During 2020 and 2021 Greener undertook a solar installation programme with Manaaki Energy. The project involved community engagement and was Maori led bringing our shared values together. HERE

We have continued to work with our community working on Kaianga Ora housing projects and with the Hastings District Council. During cyclone Gabriele our team assisted those affected by delivering generators and supporting local farmers.

To achieve these outcomes Greener has focused on technology solutions to ensure our delivery is seamless and as efficient as possible. We have aimed to setup our business to be scalable and are looking to expand and grow over the coming years.

We engage directly with our stakeholders and have worked to develop the relationships working together and using our in house team to ensure the communication from our designers and office staff out to our installers translates to great outcomes for our customers. The strength of our relationships with iwi and community energy advocates has helped our business grow. We will continue to build on these relationships and strengthen our ties to the community.

Being a small business and team we are all hands on deck for all our projects and the continuity of our team helps us meet and exceed our clients expectations. We set our standards high and will continue to work to ensure we keep those going as we expand. 

We see our areas for growth being in community projects and commercial solar projects helping local businesses transition to renewable energy with a focus on farming, horticulture and viticulture.


Find out more about Greener >

This category recognises business excellence within the renewable energy market segment. It celebrates businesses that have developed and grown whilst making a positive contribution to society, the industry and all stakeholders – customers, employees, and shareholders.

Winner: ESolar


Founded in 2009, we're a family-owned solar technology company that's grown from a single member to a team of six experts. We specialize in cutting-edge solar solutions, serving eco-conscious individuals, families, and businesses. Our offerings include on-grid, hybrid, and off-grid residential systems, as well as commercial solutions. We prioritize high-end, ethically sourced products and exceptional customer service. Our aim is sustainable business growth while maintaining quality and ethical standards. We're dedicated to meeting unique customer needs and contributing to a greener, more sustainable future through premium, eco-friendly products.

With a resilient presence since 2009, we've not only maintained consistent profitability but have achieved a remarkable milestone of increasing our annual turnover by one million dollars for the past three years. We've played a pivotal role in nurturing the growth of the New Zealand solar industry, particularly during its infancy, where we trained and supported emerging solar companies, contributing significantly to the industry's expansion. We've grown hand in hand with the solar sector from its earliest stages, and our stellar reputation for consistently delivering exceptional outcomes. Our commitment to ethically sourcing products underscores our focus on responsible business practices.

Find out more about ESolar >

Runner Up: Tū Mai Rā Energy

Tū Mai Rā Energy (TMRE) is a solar company that oversees the entire solar process, from design to installation, with a well-equipped warehouse and specialized installers. We cater to a diverse customer base, including residential, commercial, and off-grid clients. TMRE aspires to lead the community energy sector, addressing power poverty for low-income and vulnerable whanau, particularly those in rural areas burdened by high energy costs. Our goal is to reduce power poverty by increasing access to renewable energy through innovative financial models and technology, boost renewable energy adoption, and enhance the lives of low-income and vulnerable communities.

TMRE's success is rooted in its cultural strategy approach. The company's commitment to community energy sharing models, collaborative solar projects, and fostering cultural competence among employees highlights its dedication to holistic growth, sustainability, and positive societal impact.

This year over 100+ low income and vulnerable homes have benefitted from our solar systems. In a recent project, a whanau member shared, "With solar, we no longer have to drive miles into town to wash our clothes, and we can sit around the table at night and eat dinner as a family." For TMRE, making life-changing impacts takes precedence above all else.

Tū Mai Rā Energy whanāu posing in grass   marae with solar panels on roof from above

Find out more about Tū Mai Rā Energy >

This category recognises business excellence within the renewable energy market segment. It celebrates businesses that have developed and grown whilst making a positive contribution to society, the industry and all stakeholders – customers, employees, and shareholders.

Winner: SLR

SLR are global leaders in full-spectrum sustainability solutions: providing clients with strategic advice and on the ground technical support, partnering with them in Making Sustainability Happen. We achieve this by having a team of specialist advisors and technicians, who support our clients to tackle some of the world's most complex sustainability challenges, by utilising our collaborative and entrepreneurial One Team culture.

In August 2022, SLR acquired 4Sight Consulting, an Aotearoa based Planning and Environmental Consulting firm. Any references or projects featured in this submission will include those undertaken by both firms.

SLR continues to make a strong contribution to the growth of renewable energy (including solar) across Aotearoa New Zealand. We have grown to provide an integrated service offering that, to a high degree, makes SLR a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients in assessing and consenting solar farm projects. As of September 2023, our record includes 12 projects either already consented or the process of being consented (900MW total); and 9 projects in the pre-assessment phase (600M total). We have also completed many more site assessments, due diligence advice for investment, and specialist assessments such as ESG.


Find out more about SLR >

Runner Up: solarZero

solarZero achieved the milestone of 10,000 solar and battery systems on households in May this year. The batteries are visible to solarZero and controllable. solarZero’s aim is to manage the batteries to help support the electrification of the economy and enable the power system to run more efficiently. Over the past 18 months solarZero has developed its virtual power plant technology and now has two non-network solution projects, is in the reserves market and has developed a winter peak product. A key aim of solarZero’s is to ensure the Transition is just and benefits the entire country.

With over 10,000 installations, active in the reserves market, providing a winter peak product and active with two non-network solutions, a schools solar programme and supporting businesses across Aotearoa New Zealand, is a clear leader in the solar, battery, distributed energy and flexibilitty space in New Zealand.

Find out more about solarZero >


Industry Person of the Year: Aaron Duncan - Freenergy Solar Solutions

After Cyclone Gabriele left a metre of mud through his premises, Aaron could have been forgiven for closing the doors to his long-standing Hawkes Bay solar business forever. However not only did Aaron manage to pick himself up and get his business back up and running, he was also soon back to his old self, supporting SEANZ with advice and guidance in the cyclone recovery and contributing to the development of case studies on how distributed energy can contribute to community resilience. Aaron's contribution to SEANZ and the industry is exceptional and for this, we award him Industry Person of the Year 2023.