solarZero to supply Coromandel network support to Powerco using virtual power plant technology

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Powerco and solarZero have established a partnership for a community-led solution to help keep the lights on across the Coromandel Peninsula.

solarZero, the country's leading home solar, battery storage and energy services company, and Powerco, the nation’s second largest electricity distributor, today announced they are working together to establish a system to provide 1MW of distributed battery network support to the northern part of the Coromandel.

The system is a virtual power plant, made up of a network of hundreds of community-based smart energy storage and solar generation systems on homes across the region. 

Using this system, solarZero will provide 1MW of network support to Powerco to help maintain its electricity supply to customers in the north Coromandel during peak consumption times. 

Ryno Verster, Powerco General Manager Strategy and Engineering, says Powerco put an industry-wide call out for proposed solutions to provide additional supply to its north Coromandel network, selecting solarZero from this competitive tender process.

“Powerco is committed to decarbonising our network. By partnering with solarZero we’ve found an innovative way to support Aotearoa’s move to a sustainable future while bringing a low-cost option to maintain network reliability to our Coromandel customers,” says Ryno.
“With growing numbers of people choosing to live in and visit the Coromandel region, the network is reaching capacity and sometimes needs additional support, particularly if network outages occur during busy holiday periods. We’re excited to see how solarZero’s solution will help keep the lights on for the community if these events occur.”

solarZero’s energy service is the smart new way to power homes. Delivered by
solarZero’s proprietary platform the service has a series of powerful features, delivering clean energy produced from rooftop solar panels, backup power from its integrated battery and on-device intelligence which networks homes together as a virtual power plant.

“Innovative, people-powered initiatives like this support New Zealand’s transition to a zerocarbon economy.” said Andrew Booth, CEO of solarZero. “We are proud to have been selected to work alongside Powerco to lead the way together towards 100% clean energy for all.”

The partnership is scheduled to begin in 2023 and will run for an initial six-year term.

The partnership follows solarZero’s acquisition by a fund managed by BlackRock Alternatives’ Climate Infrastructure. Blackrock intends to invest NZD$100 million of capital over the next three years to accelerate the development of solarZero and its unique battery technology platform.

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