Solar Farm and Community Investment Fund
This project – Aotearoa’s first community-owned solar farm! – was a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards. Watch their video here.
Energise Ōtaki has, with a generous funding of $407,000 from the Wellington Community Trust, set up two solar systems to generate power to go straight to users within the community.
In October 2020, a 23kWp system was installed at Ōtaki College and a 107 kWp system, named Rau Kūmara, installed adjacent to the Ōtaki Wastewater Treatment Plant. The generated power is used at the College and to run the Council’s wastewater treatment process.
Proceeds from the electricity sold are put into the Energise Ōtaki Community Investment Fund to support community-initiated energy projects – sign up to our newsletter for news on how to nominate your project for funding.
– Roof-mounted solar array on College buildings.
– 52 photovoltaic solar panels (total of 23.1kWp) with one 20kW inverter
– There is an agreement with Ōtaki College for the locating of the panels on their site.
This system is in addition to already existing arrays on the Administration Block funded by Pub Charity and Philip Foundation and administered by XŌtaki Alumni, which generate approximately $6k in scholarships / year.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
– A ground-mounted solar farm facing north at a 25° angle
– 240 photovoltaic solar panels of 445W each (total of 106.8kWp) with four 3-phase Fronius Symo 80kW inverters.
– There is a lease with KCDC for the land being used for the solar farm.
Monitoring services will allow us to remotely track
- Total generation and performance information
- Tracking of carbon savings
- Revenue grade metering
The Energise Ōtaki Community Investment Fund will be dispersed on an annual basis, according to funding criteria, to community projects. The governance of this fund will be via an Energise Ōtaki sub-committee with representatives from Nga Hapu ō Ōtaki, Wellington Community Trust, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Energise Ōtaki. There is an estimated minimum $25k annual revenue from the two installations that will start going into the Investment Fund for community reinvestment, in projects such as insulation improvements for households, education and local employment.
Energise Ōtaki’s goal is to have $100,000 annually going into the community fund by 2023. We have identified 5 sites with the potential to have solar electricity generated in this ‘behind the meter’ system, where power is purchased directly from the solar installation, and revenue directed into the Community Investment Fund. These two locations are the first two of these sites. Energise Otaki are now investigating potential other sites and sourcing funding for future site installations.