solarZero, New Zealand’s leading solar and battery storage provider, unveiled New Zealand’s first solarZero School at Edendale Primary School in Sandringham, Auckland.
The school will be the first in the country to be powered by the revolutionary solarZero energy service financed by New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF). It will enable every school, regardless of its size or wealth, to be powered with solar power backed up by smart battery storage without having to find funds within their tight budgets.
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw marked the day by attending a ‘sunraising’ event at the school where children presented a short film on climate change and the messages they would like him to take to world leaders at the COP27 conference in Egypt, which he is attending next week.
Andrew Booth, solarZero founder and CEO says, “When our service goes live, Edendale will have achieved New Zealand's 100% renewable energy goal seven years ahead of target, lighting the way to a net carbonzero future. Expanding clean energy means schools can benefit from the stable, low-cost electricity prices and enable the next generation of Kiwis to be the change they want to see in the world.”
Edendale Primary School is the first of the 2,500 schools in New Zealand who could deploy the solarZero platform and together would generate over 200 megawatts of solar power every year, meeting 1% of New Zealand’s power demand and reducing the nation’s carbon emissions by 5%.
All of Edendale’s energy in the years ahead will be 100% carboNzero and 83% of the schools energy use will be offset by solar generation. It is estimated that the school will save over $160,000 across the 20 years of the solarZero service and make carbon savings equivalent to planting a 188 acre temperate forest. Importantly in these challenging economic times, the service fixes 40% of the school’s power bill for the next 20 years inflation free, putting an end to the rising costs of power faced by many schools and families in New Zealand.
Edendale Primary School Board Chair Anthony Trigg says, “We are so very proud that Edendale Primary could be the first solarZero school in the country, it means a huge amount to our students who are super passionate about the environment and creating a more sustainable future.”
New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF), a green investment bank established to accelerate investment in New Zealand’s low carbon future, has provided an $8 million finance facility to support solarZero Schools. This helps schools access solar energy for no upfront installation cost and with long-term fixed energy costs at a price below the cost of retail electricity.
NZGIF is financing both the installation of solar arrays and electricity supply under power purchase agreements (PPAs). NZGIF is also holding $10 million in reserve for future extensions to the finance facility as demand grows.
Jason Patrick, NZGIF’s Chief Investment Officer, says, “We are pleased to be able to finance this transition. Building smart, renewable power generation is critical to New Zealand’s low carbon future, and what better way to demonstrate this to future generations than by supplying schools with solar energy to power their learning.”
Today's launch follows the company's recent acquisition by a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets. BlackRock intends to invest NZD$100 million of capital over the next three years to accelerate the development of solarZero and its unique battery technology platform.
solarZero is still taking registrations of interest for the solarZero Schools Programme and principals interested in joining can register their school on the solarZero website.