Lightyears Solar raises $6 million for new solar farms in Canterbury, Wairarapa

Solar energy company Lightyears Solar has raised $6 million to build three new solar farms in Canterbury and Wairarapa over the next year.

The community-scale farms would produce 18 megawatts (MW) of energy, enough to power nearly 4000 homes.

Lightyears Solar, which operates one solar farm in Auckland’s Waiuku, also had a $25m loan from New Zealand Green Investment Finance.

The company’s co-founder and development manager Matt Shanks, said the Ashburton and Wairarapa farms were already under construction.

He said the company was focused on community-scale farms.

“If we’re talking in megawatts, most of our farms are in that sort of 5 to 15MW range, which is a bit of a sweet spot for us,” Shanks said.

“One of the reasons we’re developing at that scale is because they fit in nicely into the existing power networks, and also they’re fairly low impact to the communities they’re in.”

Once the Canterbury and Wairarapa farms were operational, Lightyears would have 20MW of solar farms in its portfolio, and would begin construction of 60MW of projects in 2025.

The capital raise was led by commercial and industrial retailer Prime Energy and investor Rowan Simpson’s Hoku Group.

Prime Energy chief executive Michael Skates, said it was an “incredibly attractive” investment opportunity.

“The New Zealand electricity market desperately needs to increase its renewable generation capacity to be able to decarbonise the country and Lightyears Solar are the tip of the spear in doing so, via their unique, community-scale farms,” he said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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