May 25, 2024
Sunshine and big spaces: Why Kiwi farmers could be the solution to NZ's energy security problem

New Zealand farmers are renowned for their ability to produce things like lamb, beef and dairy, but there's a new product they're moving into: renewable electricity. A new report by energy transition charity Rewiring Aotearoa says the benefits to farmers of installing solar and battery systems include cheaper power, resilience to outages and being able to make money from selling electricity back to the grid. Maniatoto farmer Becks Smith said installing solar to power her irrigation systems is the logical next step for the farm business. "We're actually really good at producing off solar power, that's what we do with our grass every day," she told Newshub. Smith is planning to install solar to generate electricity on farm to run her irrigation pumps during summer, while in winter when the pump is turned off, she can still generate electricity and sell it back to the grid. She said it improves business and community resilience. "Farms have the opportunity to be local electricity hubs to supply into local networks. Should the infrastructure be damaged in a natural disaster, we have the ability to support our communities."

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