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New Zealand's largest off-grid solar power system on Motutapu Island is complete and will be activated today.

Date:  12 November 2010 Source:  Office of the Minister of Conservation

New Zealand's largest off-grid solar power system on Motutapu Island is complete and will be activated today.

"A lot of work has been put into this project and I am thrilled that from today we will be switching to an environmentally sustainable method of producing power on Motutapu," says Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson.

The $715,000 Motutapu solar project is expected to generate at least 65,000kWh per year, providing up to 70% of the island's energy requirements and saving 800 litres of diesel a week.

"As the department moves to renewable energy generation on islands, money previously spent on diesel, and the hours spent maintaining and running generators, will now go directly on conservation work.

"The new solar power system is New Zealand's largest off-grid system. It is a fantastic example of what can be achieved and will make a significant contribution to the environment by replacing diesel generators with renewable energy sources.

"Rangitoto and Motutapu are well on their way to becoming the largest pest-free sanctuaries in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and it is great that power generation on the islands now has little environmental cost."

Power generated on the island supplies a number of DOC houses where staff and contractors live while carrying out conservation work. It also supplies the Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp (MOEC), which hosts 12,000 guests each year, and the Motutapu Farm.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye will activate the solar power system with a flick of the switch at around 3pm.

Motutapu is the ninth Department of Conservation-managed island to have renewable energy solutions installed as part of the Department of Conservation ongoing Sustainability Programme, which aims to boost renewable energy use and halve its off-grid diesel fuel bills.

Now the renewable power generation system is complete, the power and water distribution networks on the island will also be upgraded. Cost savings associated with replacing the current system are estimated to be $188,000 per year.


Motutapu Island


Christian Bonnevie
Press Secretary
Office of the Hon. Kate Wilkinson
+64 4 817 8266 or +64 21 243 8266

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