UK-based renewable energy firm Harmony Energy has received a permit from New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority to build the country’s largest solar farm.

The proposed 147MW solar facility is planned in the Waikato region, covering 182ha of a 260ha site at Te Aroha West, 140km south of Auckland.

Harmony Energy director Pete Grogan said: “We are thrilled this important renewable development can now proceed.

“Renewable energy is critical to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and help support New Zealand’s net zero ambition.

“One of the great advantages of solar power is that it accommodates dual use of land, allowing for energy generation alongside continued farming production, as will happen at Tauhei.”

Upon completion, the solar facility will generate enough clean energy to power 30,000 homes.

It is expected to create business and employment opportunities in the region.

Grogan added: “This proposal creates opportunities for local businesses and employment and creates significant biodiversity gains.

“We will deliver an exceptional project that Waikato can be proud of.

“Upon granting approval, it was noted that we were to be commended for the care taken in conceptualising the proposal in the manner that we have – creating a project that will deliver such significant benefits with comparatively few adverse effects.

“This reflects the fact the design of the solar farm includes the ecological restoration of a large wetland area, incorporating boardwalks for scheduled educational visits.”

In addition to the solar farm, Harmony Energy has a project pipeline with more than 500MW of capacity in New Zealand.

In the UK, the country is developing a battery energy storage facility near Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

Once completed, the battery facility will have the capacity to store up to 198MWh, making it the UK’s largest battery energy storage facility.