NZ’s Lodestone to turn unproductive farmland into solar boon

Photo of barren farmland with beautiful mountains in background
Haldon Station

New Zealand’s leading solar generation company, Lodestone Energy, has announced a partnership with Haldon Station in the Mackenzie District to build and operate a 220MW utility-scale solar farm.

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The partners have carefully selected a 340ha land parcel for the solar farm—only 1.5% of the total station. Haldon Station has been owned by the Klisser family for over three decades and is one of New Zealand’s premier high-country stations, spanning more than 22,000ha.

Haldon Station has been considering for years how to enhance this area on the property that is non-productive, has suffered from significant wind erosion due to its dryness and pest infiltration. Lodestone saw value because of its top-quality solar resource, proximity to transmission infrastructure, good road access and minimal visual impact.

The partners also believe there is an opportunity for meaningful ecological restoration during the 70-year period that the solar farm could be operating.

“We believe, from research and observation on other well-planned developments on the property, that the partial shade and shelter from the panels will result in a beneficial effect on the lands below and will result in revegetation of the original native fauna and flora,” Haldon Station farm manager Paddy Boyd said.

“The station is planning for the area to be ring fenced with rabbit netting and totally destocked to allow for full regeneration of the natural grasses.”

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Construction of the solar farm is planned to start in 2025 and will produce 340GWh per annum at full capacity, generating enough renewable energy to power nearly 50,000 homes.

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