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Machinery giant Komatsu has completed its first solar installation in New Zealand at its South Island office in Christchurch.

Machinery giant Komatsu has completed its first solar installation in New Zealand at its South Island office in Christchurch.

The new 50-kilowatt system is estimated to provide half of the site’s power needs.

The location was chosen as the first NZ site for solar installation under a wider global commitment to sustainability.

“As an organisation, we are proactively looking for opportunities to contribute to a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together,” Komatsu New Zealand managing director Phil Pritchard said.

“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 took about 11 months, though the actual installation process was completed in two weeks with no real disruptions to business.”

Pritchard said that a lot of planning went into getting the project right.

“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,” he said.

The project comes as part of Komatsu’s review of its environmental plans for each facility, with a focus on identifying sustainability initiatives and activities.

“This project forms part of our global initiatives and links into our global sustainability policy,” Pritchard said.

“When we were approached by building developer, Calder Stewart, and the landlord, FortHill Property, it made sense for us to commit to purchasing green energy from our own roof.

“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.

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

“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.”