5 September 2023

Powering Progress: Inside the Waiuku Solar Farm Project

Waiuku Solar Farm


Prior to construction, McKay partnered with Lightyears Solar to provide expertise in electrical design and construction planning. We understood the potential of the Waiuku Solar Farm and were determined to lend our skills to its successful implementation.

One crucial aspect of our contribution to the Waiuku Solar Farm was the manufacturing of the 800V switchboard by our in-house switchboard manufacturing facility MGE. Keeping the manufacturing in NZ reduced the lead time for the switchgear and allowed us to customise it to fit in the containerised switch room. Also, custom built by McKay was the SCADA which was designed specifically for Lightyears and customised for their needs. It has been built to be scalable so the SCADA system can grow with Lightyears as they continue to build solar farms across the motu.

Despite the challenges posed by winter of rain and mud, our dedicated team mobilized to the site in June 2023, ready to perform the intricate electrical installation. From laying and terminating the DC and AC cables to installing the containerised switch room and the transformer and HV cables, we meticulously executed each task.

In September 2023, we proudly celebrated the mechanical completion of the Waiuku Solar Farm in a ceremony attended by James Shaw. This milestone marked a significant achievement for everyone involved in the project and symbolized a bright future for renewable energy in New Zealand.

As the project nears completion, our focus has shifted to the final touches and the commissioning of the equipment. Our team is diligently working to ensure that every aspect of the solar farm operates flawlessly, setting the stage for a successful launch. With a target go-live date set for the end of September, we are eagerly anticipating the moment when the Waiuku Solar Farm begins generating clean energy.

What sets the Waiuku Solar Farm apart is the integration of agrivoltaics, a concept that allows farm animals to continue grazing the land beneath the solar modules. This innovative approach not only maximizes land usage but also highlights the compatibility of renewable energy with sustainable agricultural practices. It is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of the renewable energy sector and the multifaceted benefits it brings to communities.

At McKay, we are immensely proud of our involvement in the Waiuku Solar Farm project. The opportunity to contribute to the development of the newest tracking solar farm in New Zealand has been an honor. It is a testament to our commitment to sustainability, innovation, and technological prowess.

As the global transition to renewable energy gains momentum, the Waiuku Solar Farm stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through collaboration, expertise, and passion. It is projects like these that inspire us to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of renewable energy.