Te Herenga o Te Rā Solar Farm, Waiotahe

Taking solar production to a new level

  • Location: Bay of Plenty
  • Year: November 2023 - May 2024

Located in the Bay of Plenty, Waiotahe is home to Lodestone Energy’s third and largest utility-scale solar farm, Te Herenga o Te Rā.

Connell Contractors is proud to deliver the earthworks and civil construction for this 70,000-panel solar farm, in partnership with our clients Infratec and Lodestone.

This is the third solar farm Connell has delivered for Infratec and Lodestone. We are thrilled to continue this partnership and help take solar production and renewable energy to a new level in New Zealand.

Set to be commissioned late 2024, the farm will produce 69 GWh each year – that’s enough power for more than 9,500 New Zealand homes.

Connell was engaged to deliver all earthworks and civil construction for the solar farm, including foundations, roading, drainage, pipes, and cabling trenches.

Contracts Supervisor Matt Dean said the low-lying site, which borders the Waiotahe River in the Ōpōtiki District, is prone to flooding in winter.

“We worked closely with our clients during the RFP phase to ensure work was scheduled to begin in summer – putting the project well ahead of the client’s schedule, and avoiding any delays or environmental concerns from completing the work over winter,” said Matt.

Solar farm construction relies on most of the civil works being completed before the mechanical contractors begin on-site.

“We planned for key items to be completed before the mechanical contractors started, including entranceway roading, laydown and parking areas, and subsoil drainage. This ensured both parties could carry out their work efficiently,” said Matt.

Connell always looks to involve local contractors on large-scale jobs, and Te Herenga o Te Rā was no exception.

“We engaged early with Waiotahe Contractors for the supply of aggregate from the local quarry, laying and compacting of aggregate, and finishing and grading of roads.”

“Using local quarries helps reduce the environmental impact of bringing aggregates to site, and reduces costs for the client,” said Matt.

Matt said Connell’s project management and project delivery has received positive feedback from Lodestone and Infratec.

“Our success on this project can be contributed to our meticulous planning during the tender stage, an efficient EOI process, and our ongoing commitment to excellence. We look forward to growing our partnership with Infratec and Lodestone, and helping shape the future of renewable energy in New Zealand.”


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