Media Releases & News

Aurora Energy and solarZero Partner to Meet Future Growth in Upper Clutha

12 January 2021
Aurora Energy is partnering with solarZero, a leading solar energy business, to explore new ways to provide cost effective electricity to the fastest growing regions across the Aurora Energy network.

Aurora Energy General Manager Asset Management and Planning Glenn Coates said solarZero came forward as a leading service provider following an extensive ROI/RFP process in 2019.

“In 2019, we called for registrations of interest to seek non-network alternatives to increase the supply to the Upper Clutha and Wanaka communities,” Mr Coates said.

“This process was about finding reliable, lower cost alternatives to building new network infrastructure and ensuring the increase to supply can meet not only current demand but future demand as these regions continue to grow.

“We were pleased by the response we got from the market, especially with several applications of interest focusing on new and emerging technologies and are very happy to be partnering with solarZero on this new partnership.”

The Aurora Energy and solarZero partnership will involve solarZero installing solar panels and battery storage on customers properties so they can switch to non-network alternatives when the load on the network increases.

“We look forward to working with Aurora Energy, the community and local businesses to provide this innovative, leading edge solution for the electricity network and community in this region” said Neil Cowie, CEO, solarZero.

Mr Coates said the Upper Clutha Non-Network Alternative ROI was the first of its kind for Aurora Energy, and was seen as a start to emerging technology solutions with benefits including the deferral of high cost network upgrades and greater electricity demand flexibility for households, thereby delivering solutions in the best interests of our communities.

“Currently around New Zealand you don’t see many electricity distribution companies going out to open market for non-network alternatives and Aurora Energy is pleased to be leading the way in this space,” Mr Coates said. 

“The way communities are using technology is constantly changing with an increase in electric vehicles and more and more people generating their own electricity, and we need to ensure our network and operating systems adapt to enable the uptake of future technologies in the background of strong organic growth.”

“Globally, solar, batteries and smart control - which are collectively known as flexibility services - are increasingly recognised as being key to an efficient power system that supports the electrification of the economy. This project is right up there nationally and internationally,” said Mr Cowie.



For further information contact Aurora Energy External Relations Team, 03 742 0931

Aurora Energy is New Zealand’s seventh largest electricity network by customer connections, supplying electricity to 90,000 homes, farms and businesses in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. Aurora Energy Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, owned by the Dunedin City Council.


solarZero - smart solar energy service

solarZero gives homeowners control over how their home is powered - streaming the sun’s energy and converting to usable electricity through state-of-the-art system hardware, smart management of solar and low-priced grid energy through the smart battery, as well as real-time monitoring to give insights and help energy efficiencies within the home.

With solarZero there is no upfront cost for the system hardware, users pay a fixed monthly fee for their energy consumption.  The hardware of the system remains the property of solarZero, who manage the installation, maintenance and servicing (while the homeowner enjoys the benefits without the investment).

The solarZero system comprises of solar panels and a smart Panasonic storage battery - allowing stored power to be accessed even when the sun isn’t shining.

 solarZero - Kiwi solar energy company

With its origins in solar water heating innovation in the 1970s, solarZero has installed more solar systems on Kiwi homes and businesses than any other company. It was the first solar company in the world to achieve Toitū carbonzero certification and has held this green credential for nine years running.

solarZero is one of the fastest growing green companies in New Zealand. solarZero’s investors include Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment fund, Pencarrow and ACC.  An award-winning financing mechanism developed by solarZero and Westpac locks in a fixed, low cost, inflation free price for solar energy over a 20 year term, which removes any and all technology risk.

For more information contact:

Angela Hayes | Senior Communications Specialist – solarZero

Email: [email protected] or [email protected] 

Mobile: 021 575 631