Your questions answered
You might find the answer you're looking for here in our frequently asked questions or at the New Zealand Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) website. If there's something else you'd like to know, please get in touch with the Christchurch Airport team.
Why is Christchurch Airport doing this?
You will find our motivation for developing Kōwhai Park on the Rationale page. In short, this is about our business moving beyond emissions reduction to enabling others to decarbonise. Christchurch Airport is on track to be carbon neutral next year and carbon zero before 2050, Kōwhai Park will ensure others can transition too.
What is the timeframe for developing Phase One of Kōwhai Park?
You can read the timeframes for various project phases on the How to Apply page. All going to plan, we envisage Kōwhai Park could be generating zero emission energy from 2025 and will continue to grow over the next 30 years.
Will the solar array that Phase One delivers be the biggest in New Zealand?
The largest solar array that is currently connected to New Zealand’s grid is in Taranaki and generates 2.1MW. The solar array planned for Kōwhai Park has the potential to generate 150MW from the outset, so it is substantially larger than anything in existence. We expect it will span 220 hectares of land – that’s the same as 262 rugby fields.
How much renewable energy could be generated at Kōwhai Park?
The first phase is expected to be capable of delivering enough solar energy to power the equivalent of 30,000 homes (150MW) and the project will scale up to meet demand. Its potential is enormous – not just for solar but for other clean energies, such as green hydrogen.
Why is Kōwhai Park the best place to site renewable energy projects?
Kōwhai Park sits alongside New Zealand’s second largest city, as well as bordering both Transpower’s National Grid and the local Orion network.
It also sits next to the airport which, together with airlines, will be a significant user of the energy produced as aviation decarbonises.
In addition, Canterbury also receives high solar generation hours – that means Kōwhai Park has the ability to generate and distribute renewable energy easily. Its close proximity to Christchurch will minimise energy lost in transmission.
With the potential to accommodate other renewable energy products, including green hydrogen, Kōwhai Park is about more than solar.
Is it safe to have solar panels near an airport?
Absolutely. Solar panels are designed to absorb the light, not reflect it. There are a growing number of examples from all over the world where solar arrays are placed near airports, these include Melbourne, Perth, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Cochin (India), Dubai, Antigua and Gautam (Nepal).
What do you mean by 'complimentary technologies'?
Solar is well understood now, but in order to maximise the benefits of large scale solar (like that planned for Kōwhai Park), we need to include energy storage capabilities so we’re planning to work with organisations that have expertise in battery or alternative storage solutions.
We are also seeking parties with expertise in modular green hydrogen generation, as this will be an important component to support future low carbon aviation.
I have a renewable energy project – could it be sited at Kōwhai Park?
Absolutely. This is a precinct approach where we welcome large, medium and small scale generators and storage entities. Our intention is to have the scoping work completed to share with interested parties by early 2022, and from there, start working on our shared vision for the site.
How can my business purchase the renewable energy Kōwhai Park will generate?
The best way to start securing your supply of Kōwhai Park's energy is to take part in our procurement process. You can find out more on the How to Apply page.
How did the airport set the market engagement timeline?
Stage 1 of our market engagement covers both the formal Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) by market respondents, whether potential developers or consumers, as well as completion of the underlying technical scoping studies required to facilitate Stage 2 (Expressions of Interest). Stage 1 also includes a window of time to assess any additional technical information requests required by respondents for Stage 2.
The timelines for Stage 2 and Stage 3 are indicative and look to factor in enough time for robust market response and assessment.
It should be noted that if the technical scoping study and demand assessment, or any other stage be completed ahead of schedule, we will accelerate the proposed timeline. All qualifying respondents will be informed of any timeline acceleration in advance.
Find out more
Phase One is planned as a solar array larger than any other in New Zealand currently. However, Kōwhai Park is much more than solar.
Kōwhai Park will provide a resilient supply of clean energy which New Zealand needs to lead the world in decarbonising through electrification.
Kōwhai Park begins with the release of an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ). Learn more about the application process here.