A sunny solution for a coal-free future
A cloudless 27-degree Canterbury day – what better weather to launch a solar array? On November 8 Selwyn MP Hon Amy Adams officially ‘switched on the light’, and Lincoln University began making watts while the sun shines from the roof of their Te Kete Ika dining hall.
We partnered with Lincoln University to install the 102-kWp array, which is the largest to be installed at a New Zealand university. It'll supply renewable energy direct to the university’s network, and we’ve got plans to amp up the watts with additional arrays to help Lincoln realise their goal of eliminating coal – currently fueling half the university’s energy needs – by 2025.
At the launch, we chatted to Lincoln University Students’ Association President Kristy Havill who said students are excited to see Lincoln committing towards a more sustainable future.
“The installation of the first solar array signals how serious their intent is to make change,” says Kristy.
“As Amy Adams MP alluded to, while the lawmakers and focus groups are important, it is the actions on the ground that will make the biggest difference. The students are excited to see what steps along the journey to renewable energy are to come.”
Lincoln University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie says eliminating coal is important to Lincoln, given its role as a land-based university with a strong sustainability ethic.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that future generations are given the opportunity to grow and thrive. This means using our resources sustainably and partnering with energy and utility experts to move away from fossil fuels, improve our energy performance and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.”
As part of Meridian’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), we’ve covered the work and costs associated with installation, operation and maintenance. Our Emerging Markets and Innovation Lead, Tim Calder says Lincoln is sending a powerful message by moving away from coal and towards renewable energy.
“Commercial solar is now a viable solution and partnering with Meridian makes it easy to harness renewable energy without upfront capital costs or ongoing maintenance,” says Tim.
We’ve seen increasing interest for commercial solar Power Purchase Agreements since we began offering them to market, and Tim says it’s great to see the business community looking to renewable energy solutions as a way to reduce their environmental impact.
“People are excited about the technology and we’re looking forward to it playing a much bigger role in our renewable generation mix,” he says.