Fuseworks Media

Lightyears Solar capital raise will help fund next three solar farms

A recent capital raise of $6m will help renewable energy developer Lightyears Solar build three new community-scale farms over the next year.

The equity raised will help fund the construction of farms in Wairarapa and Canterbury, totalling 18MW, and allow the company to expand and grow in other areas, including its Engineering and Construction arm.

“The power produced from these farms is enough to power nearly 4000 homes with renewable energy and will also help alleviate energy poverty around New Zealand,” says Matt Shanks, development manager and co-founder at Lightyear Solar.

“Along with our already operational Waiuku Solar Farm, Lightyears will have a 20MW portfolio of solar farm assets on completion of these projects, and we have 60MW of projects commencing construction in 2025.”

The capital raise was led by electricity retailers, Prime Energy and Rowan Simpson’s Hoku Group. Prime Energy has already formed a strong partnership with Lightyears Solar via a long-term Power Purchase Agreement to purchase the power produced from Lightyears’ Waiuku Solar Farm. The energy generated from these farms will be available for consumers to purchase directly from Prime Energy.

Prime Energy specialise in supplying power to business customers which have their highest consumption during the day, making solar generation the ideal match.

“The opportunity to invest in Lightyears Solar was an incredibly attractive one for us at Prime Energy. For us to help boost the building of renewable energy in New Zealand and reduce the national grid emissions is core to our ethos,” says Prime Energy CEO, Michael Skates.

“The New Zealand electricity market desperately needs to increase its renewable generation capacity to be able to decarbonise the country and Lightyears Solar are the tip of the spear in doing so, via their unique, community-scale farms.”

“The relationship between Lightyears Solar and Prime Energy moves us from wanting and encouraging increased renewable energy and lower emissions in New Zealand to being a core part of the movement delivering that change.

“We are seeing a growing appetite and direction from customers to not only find comfort that the energy they consume is renewable, but to see exactly where it comes from and that it is changing the status quo”.

Lightyears Solar also has a $25m debt facility from New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF), to help finance project construction and operation.

Matt Shanks says the continued investment is a real vote of confidence following the successful construction of the Waiuku Solar Farm and shows that people are becoming more confident investing in renewable energy, which is an industry that is only going to grow.

“We’re really grateful to our investors for having faith in us and we’re looking forward to taking these projects through to operational stage this year.”


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