Wellington Scoop

Te Papa seeking a partner to install solar panels on its roof

Te Papa is assessing applications from power companies wanting to participate in a plan to install solar panels on its roof. Applications closed yesterday for a proposal which Te Papa says will be “the largest PV installation in New Zealand and one of the largest on museums anywhere.”

In its call for registrations of interest, Te Papa describes “an exciting opportunity to install 500kW of photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of our internationally renowned high profile museum site in Wellington. In addition Te Papa has begun plans to renew the Natural Environment permanent exhibition and this is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of a solar PV system in an educationally oriented setting which attracts more than 1.5 million visitors every year.

“We are looking for parties wishing to promote solar photovoltaic panel systems who may be interested in partnering with Te Papa to sponsor or support technical delivery of what at 3000m2 would be the largest PV array in New Zealand.”

The museum is seeking “credible providers who have the capability, experience and ability to support this development with significant financial and/or technical support who want to be involved with a world leading opportunity to promote PV systems and to drive an environmental sustainability programme at the museum.”

It offers “a high profile central city site made visible to 1.5m people a year through an interactive display on sustainable energy production and climate change. This would be a flagship opportunity to display and promote renewable energy products, technology and solutions to commercial clients … and to domestic users.”

The daytime maximum electricity load for Te Papa is approximately 1,000kW, so all energy generated from the new installation would be used on-site to offset the costs of grid-purchased electricity.

Present supply arrangements are traditional – connection to the national grid on a commercial contract basis with a New Zealand electricity retailer. The museum’s major, and more public, operations occur during daylight hours seven days a week – a close alignment between available solar resource and Te Papa’s maximum electrical demand periods. A photovoltaic system, with or without a storage system, could reduce operating costs and help satisfy calls for newer, cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy use practices. It would also contribute to New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction commitments.