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Kiwi Property is tapping into sun-power with 672 solar panels at Northlands Mall

Kiwi Property has flicked the switch on 672 solar panels at Northlands Mall in Christchurch as part of New Zealand's largest solar power programme.

The leading property company is partnered with Meridian Energy to install almost 2500 rooftop solar panels on its shopping centres - in Christchurch at Northlands, at the Plaza in Palmerston North, The Base in Hamilton and Lynn Mall in Auckland.

Northlands Mall is the first shopping centre off the block in the programme with the others to follow.

The 672 panels have combined a peak capacity of 185 kilowatts (kW) and will generate about 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 30 households or nearly 100 electric vehicles for a year.

Meridian chief executive Neal Barclay said the power purchase agreement model being used with Kiwi Property made solar power easier for commercial properties to obtain.

"Commercial solar partnerships make sense. Our customers harness clean energy and use it during daylight hours when they need it, making them more sustainable and self-reliant in their energy needs."

The agreement involved Meridian installing and paying for the upfront costs and Kiwi Property buying the electricity for a fixed cost. The solar system passed to Kiwi's ownership at the end of the 15-year power purchase agreement or earlier if Kiwi opted for that.

Kiwi Property general manager of asset management Linda Trainer said the agreement allowed the company to expand its solar programme without upfront capital costs or ongoing maintenance.

Trainer said this agreement built on its existing on site solar installation at Sylvia Park with competitive prices for electricity and lowered its carbon footprint while contributing to the growth of renewables in New Zealand.

Barclay said the scope for growing commercial solar in New Zealand was significant. Companies around the world were turning to rooftop solar power.

"This is what the future looks like - thinking differently to grow and diversify the use of renewable energy," he said.

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