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Aurora Energy and solarZero partner to 'meet future growth in Upper Clutha'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Aurora Energy is partnering with solarZero, a leading solar energy business, to explore new ways to provide cost effective electricity to the fastest growing regions across the Aurora Energy network.

Aurora Energy General Manager Asset Management and Planning Glenn Coates said solarZero came forward as a leading service provider following an extensive ROI/RFP process in 2019.

"In 2019 we called for registrations of interest to seek non-network alternatives to increase the supply to the Upper Clutha and Wanaka communities," Mr Coates said.

"This process was about finding reliable, lower cost alternatives to building new network infrastructure and ensuring the increase to supply can meet not only current demand but future demand as these regions continue to grow.

"We were pleased by the response we got from the market, especially with several applications of interest focusing on new and emerging technologies and are very happy to be partnering with solarZero on this new partnership."

The Aurora Energy and solarZero partnership will involve solarZero installing solar panels and battery storage on customers properties so they can switch to non-network alternatives when the load on the network increases.

"We look forward to working with Aurora Energy, the community and local businesses to provide this innovative, leading edge solution for the electricity network and community in this region" said Neil Cowie, CEO, solarZero.

Mr Coates said the Upper Clutha Non-Network Alternative ROI was the first of its kind for Aurora Energy, and was seen as a start to emerging technology solutions with benefits including the deferral of high cost network upgrades and greater electricity demand flexibility for households, thereby delivering solutions in the best interests of our communities.

"Currently around New Zealand you don’t see many electricity distribution companies going out to open market for non-network alternatives and Aurora Energy is pleased to be leading the way in this space," Mr Coates said.

"The way communities are using technology is constantly changing with an increase in electric vehicles and more and more people generating their own electricity, and we need to ensure our network and operating systems adapt to enable the uptake of future technologies in the background of strong organic growth."

"Globally, solar, batteries and smart control - which are collectively known as flexibility services - are increasingly recognised as being key to an efficient power system that supports the electrification of the economy. This project is right up there nationally and internationally" said Mr Cowie.

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