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Machinery giant Komatsu has recently completed its first solar installation in New Zealand in conjunction with the original building developer, Calder Stewart, and current landlord FortHill Property. The 50-kilowatt system at the new South Island Hub facility in Christchurch is set to provide 50 per cent of the site’s power needs.

The new facility, opened in the South Island just a couple of years ago, was chosen as the first NZ site for solar installation under a wider global commitment to sustainability in conjunction with the builder and landlord. Phil Pritchard, Managing Director, Komatsu New Zealand says a lot of planning went into getting this first project right.

“As an organisation, we are proactively looking for opportunities to contribute to a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together,” Phil says.

“Servers and workshop lighting were identified as our higher consumers of energy at the Christchurch site and our modelling showed using solar to offset some of this energy consumption made great commercial and environmental sense.

“We wanted to get the first solar project right. From first discussions with our landlord to the final installation it took about 11 months, though the actual installation process was completed in two weeks with no real disruptions to business.”

Komatsu has been reviewing Environmental Plans for each facility with a strong focus on identifying sustainability initiatives and activities that can reduce their environmental impact.

“This project forms part of our global initiatives and links into our Global Sustainability Policy,” Phil  says.

“When we were approached by Calder Stewart, and the landlord FortHill Property, it made sense for us to commit to purchasing green energy from our own roof,” said Phil. “Calder Stewart Energy took care of the design and install process as well as the capital costs and all of the liaison with their partner company FortHill. This made it easy for us to achieve our goals and sustainability initiative.”

The 50-kilowatt system is projected to supply about half of the site’s power.

“The 133-panel system has been designed to accommodate batteries in future and we are looking closely at improvements in battery technology to decide when and if to go down that path.”

Komatsu plans to continue its investment in sustainable and energy efficient initiatives.

“Following the success of this project, we are now investigating a second installation at our new building in Auckland following the branch expansion,” says Phil.

“We have received a really positive response locally with both our customers and staff commenting that it’s great to see us leading the way with renewable energy.”