Contracting Capabilities

Northpower provides contracting services across the North Island including engineering, infrastructure management and maintenance and construction.

Northpower's first solar farm at Ruawai

Bringing power home

Northpower is building its first solar farm in Ruawai as a step towards investment in renewable energy for Northland.

The solar farm gifted the name ‘Te Puna Mauri ō Omaru’ by local hapū Te Uri o Hau, will power 3,000 Northland homes and help to improve the region’s energy supply and resilience.

Today, most of the power consumed in Northland is generated in the South Island by hydroelectric power and transported through the transmission network for local use.

Te Puna Mauri ō Omaru

Te Puna Mauri ō Omaru meaning  ‘the energy source of Omaru’ (safe haven), is the original name of the whenua of this part of Ruawai. One hour southwest of Whangārei, the farm is ideally located for grid-scale solar generation as it is close to Northpower’s existing infrastructure and has the right topography and climate.

Situated one hour southwest of Whangārei, the farm is ideally located for grid-scale solar generation as it is close to Northpower’s existing infrastructure and has the right topography and climate. Construction began in January 2024 and is due for completion in December 2024.

Value for Northland

Our solar farm at Ruawai, along with our broader renewables strategy improves the energy supply and resilience for Northland, giving Northlanders an ownership stake in renewable energy while supporting economic investment in the region.

Investment in renewables delivers genuine climate change action, supporting New Zealand’s electrification and decarbonisation goals.

Construction and operations of the solar farm

The project is 16.7MWDC over about 20HA of land, with a total build cost of around $25 million. We’re utilising our in-house construction expertise and capability with Northpower Contracting establishing a new group called Future Energy to manage the entire build.

Works begin in January 2024 and will take around 12 months to complete.

During the construction phase of the solar system there will be some temporary noise, we’ll be complying with daytime hours and noise limits as per our Council resource consent. The operational noise of the farm, once the build is complete, will be within the allowable limits under the Kaipara District Plan.

The solar farm is located on a rural back road, constructed in the back of the property with minimal visibility from the roads. and the photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are not highly reflective, they are generally designed to absorb light, reflecting only a very low percentage of sunlight.

Frequently asked questions

We believe that solar generation is a wise investment in our region’s energy future.

Our region largely relies on hydro power generated in the South Island.  Using Northland’s sun and the latest technology to generate electricity we can:

  • Improve our energy supply and resilience and sell energy back to the national grid
  • Play our part in New Zealand’s decarbonisation to help mitigate climate change
  • Give Northlanders a stake in generation ownership; so profits are distributed locally

It’s also the right time – our community will be one of the first to own renewable energy generation in Northland.

It’s putting sustainability at the very heart of what we do and maximises our impact and contribution.

By taking this first step in Ruawai, we’ll be building and running grid-scale solar generation from within the community, for the community.

This will:

  1. Give Northlanders an ownership stake in renewables.
  2. Generate 28,000 GWh (gigawatt hours) per year, powering over 3,000 homes.
  3. Drive economic growth and prosperity through local investment.
  4. Take genuine climate change action by championing renewable energy transition.

We are reaching out to local businesses to be involved in the project and intend to source services locally as much as possible.

  • It’s the right place – Northland’s climate makes it a preferred location for solar generation.
  • We’re well positioned for grid-scale solar generation at Ruawai – we know our region; we have capital to invest and capacity to build.
  • Our Ruawai site has suitable topography and proximity to our existing network infrastructure.
  • We have nearly 100 years of operational history in the Kaipara region, so it truly is ‘bringing power home’.
  • Investing in solar technologies complements our existing 5MW hydro power station at Wairua.
  • The project is 16.7MWDC over about 20HA of land, with a total build cost of around $25 million.
  • We’re utilising our in-house construction expertise and capability with Northpower Contracting establishing a new group called Future Energy to manage the entire build.
  • Works begin in January 2024 and will take around 12 months to complete.
  • During the construction phase of the solar system there will be some temporary noise, we’ll be complying with daytime hours and noise limits as per our Council resource consent.
  • The operational noise of the farm, once the build is complete, will be within the allowable limits under the Kaipara District Plan.
  • The solar farm is located on a rural back road, constructed in the back of the property with minimal viewing from the roads.
  • Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are not highly reflective and are generally designed to absorb light, reflecting a very low percentage of sunlight.
  • EMFs are created by all forms of electrical equipment that generate, transport, or use electricity, but only if it is alternating current (AC).
  • Most of the infrastructure at solar generating facilities, including the solar panels and most cables, produce direct current (DC) electricity.
  • Electricity from solar panels and transmission to the power grid emits extremely weak EMFs’
  • In a solar farm, the type of equipment that produces EMF includes inverters, transformers, AC cabling, and the substation, at rates well below international standards.
  • The World Health Organisation states that despite significant research, there is no proof that low-level electromagnetic field exposure is hazardous to human health.

Get in touch about this project

We’ll be updating this page as the project proceeds, but in the meantime if you have any specific questions, please contact:

Andrea Greenhalgh

Group Manager Strategy and Renewables

Deb Gilchrist-Geyser

Stakeholder, Compliance and Sustainability Manager

Energising Aotearoa New Zealand’s future

We’re excited about the future of a decarbonised economy and proud to be a key player in enabling renewable energy in our country.