Media Release - 19 April 2022

New Kiwi energy developer prepares grid-scale solar investments

A collaboration of renewable energy developers from the United States and New Zealand have built a new Kiwi company committed to grid-scale solar developments that will lower energy prices and cut carbon emissions.

Helios Energy has been quietly developing a pipeline of approximately 1GW of grid-connected solar developments across New Zealand over the last two years.

Helios director, Jason McDonald, said Helios brings extensive global experience to the New Zealand market, with its leadership team having led the development of more than 2,000MW of renewable energy projects across North America, the UK, Asia and New Zealand and advised on considerably more. The team at Helios has considerable solar project experience, having been directly involved in over 50 utility solar projects up to 250MW, in addition to numerous commercial-scale projects.

“While Helios has a preference to talk about achieved milestones rather than plans, our development pipeline is now sufficiently advanced that the time is right to introduce ourselves."

"We expect to be making site development announcements and resource consent applications over the coming months. We will also be looking to engage on regulatory settings that can support solar developments right across the country.”

McDonald said it was encouraging that new entrants were entering the energy market and challenging the established players, but development experience was vital.

“While solar is an incredible opportunity to generate large volumes of clean, renewable energy, it needs to be done at genuine scale. Additionally, competitively financing large projects can be challenging, and responsible solar development requires long-term commitment to community partnerships.

“The Helios team has built a track record of securing commercial funding for major solar developments around the world and is committed to building partnerships with landowners, communities and tangata whenua that deliver mutual benefit.”

McDonald also said Helios is proud to have one of the world’s leading renewable energy strategists as an investor. Urs Hölzle, a senior Google executive, has made a private investment of Series A capital in Helios and its solar development pipeline in New Zealand.

While this investment is not linked to Google, Hölzle has been at the cutting edge of renewables, having led the team that developed Google’s global 24x7 carbon-free by 2030 commitment. He is a global leader on decarbonisation and the development of renewables.

"We will be partnering with landowners and communities in service of developing cheaper, cleaner solar energy solutions, and will be providing regular updates on our progress. We’re hugely excited about the opportunity to take a lead role in transforming New Zealand’s energy sector in service of meeting New Zealand’s climate change commitments and democratising participation in our energy system.”

Jonathan Hill: 021 440 090