Ryman Healthcare partners with Solar Bay to build New Zealand’s first retirement village-exclusive solar farm

Solar Bay is building a solar farm to supply into the North Power network to supply solar electricity under a long-term contract to Ryman Healthcare

Ryman Healthcare, New Zealand’s largest retirement village operator, has partnered with Solar Bay, an Australian sustainable energy investor, to develop a solar farm in Northland, which will supply power to Ryman’s village operations exclusively for the next 10 years. This move marks a first for the retirement industry in the country, as the deal will save an estimated 3,294 tonnes of carbon per year and ease pressure on the national grid in Northland.

The $35 million solar farm will be built, owned, and operated by Solar Bay on a site near Maungaturoto. The 29.94 million kWh of energy produced each year will be fed directly into the national grid in Northland, with Ryman being the sole customer under the exclusive agreement. The deal is “sleeved” by electricity generator and retailer Mercury, who will ensure a reliable supply of power to Ryman’s villages.

Under the agreement, Ryman will purchase power at a guaranteed price through a long-term supply agreement with both Solar Bay and Mercury. The electricity produced will go into the grid to be used where it is needed, but having a guaranteed single buyer means Solar Bay can proceed with certainty, which will be a major boost to renewable energy generation in New Zealand.

The deal also aligns with Ryman’s commitment to sustainability in the country. Ryman Healthcare New Zealand Chief Executive Cheyne Chalmers said the deal “fits with Ryman’s plans to be as sustainable as possible in New Zealand.” He added that Ryman’s residents want to leave the environment in the best possible shape for their grandchildren and the generations to follow, making this partnership “a wonderful deal to be part of.”

Solar Bay Investment Director Andrew Archibald echoed Chalmers’ sentiment, saying, “We are delighted to partner with such a market-leading business as Ryman Healthcare, as their commitment to sustainability sets the benchmark for many organizations to follow.”

The farm has the potential capacity to generate all the power consumed annually by Ryman’s villages and can be scaled relatively easily. Mercury’s GM Portfolio Phil Gibson added that “this arrangement means that new renewable generation from independent generators like Solar Bay can supply customers with reliable, renewable electricity.”

Construction of the solar farm is currently underway, and the deal will save 3,294 tonnes of carbon per year, making a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This agreement between Ryman Healthcare, Solar Bay, and Mercury marks a major step towards achieving a sustainable future for New Zealand.


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