Vector backs NZ-first solar energy trial

Auckland infrastructure company Vector and breakfast cereal maker Hubbard Foods have powered up the country’s largest commercial installation of thin-film solar PV panels.

The installation, on the roof of the Hubbard building in South Auckland, covers 227.5 square metres and will generate 29,000 kilowatts of electricity a year – enough to power three homes, or produce 169,000 packets of cereal.

The next generation thin film panels work even on cloudy days.

Hubbard Foods chief executive Doug Paulin said that, as a business, Hubbards was committed to sustainable initiatives.

“Down the line we hope initiatives like these will make sufficient savings we can then invest back into the business, but right now it’s about setting a commercial benchmark from which others can aspire to follow.”

Vector helped Hubbard Foods fund the panels' purchase and installation.

Vector CEO Simon Mackenzie said that the initiative would help Vector understand the effect of distributed solar PV systems on its electricity network.

“In particular, we want to ensure that our network can support this technology into the future.”

He told industry news service Carbon News that he expects the thin-film panels to become cost-effective for businesses within three to five years.

Planning ahead

Vector is not the only lines company trying to work out how distributed generation will affect future operations.

This week, Bay of Plenty lines company WEL Networks announced plans for a limited trial of small-scale solar and wind generation amongst residential customers.
 

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