Kiwi telco Spark New Zealand has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to procure solar energy.

Under a 10-year PPA announced this week, all electricity generated by Genesis Energy’s first solar farm in Lauriston, Canterbury will be purchased by Spark.

Genesis Energy solar farm in Lauriston Canterbury, NZ
Ground was broken at Genesis Energy solar farm last month – Genesis Energy

Set on 93 hectares, construction began on the 63MW solar farm last month and it is set to go live by the end of the year. The solar farm will account for approximately 60 percent of Spark’s annual electricity requirements.

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said the partnership was an "important step forward in delivering our sustainability ambitions."

Hodson said: "It is important to us that we deliver on our science-based target by supporting the generation of new renewable energy. In doing so, I believe we are demonstrating how NZ Inc can work together to support Aotearoa’s climate goals – with Spark's procurement supporting Genesis’s renewable energy investments, and those investments in turn enabling Spark to meet its emissions reduction targets.”

Spark's data center strategy comprises both large, centralized data centers such as those in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, alongside Edge locations in regional cities such as Hamilton, Tauranga, and Dunedin. In 2022, the company announced that it would sell a 70 percent stake in its towers business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board for US$564 million to focus on its 5G and data center build-out.

Genesis CEO, Malcolm Johns, added: “The kind of long-term commitment shown by Spark will enable new renewable generation to come online faster, by providing projects with commercial backing and increasing confidence to invest in further developments.”

Johns continued: “We aim for the Lauriston PPA to be just the start of adding more renewable electricity to Spark’s energy supply mix in the future.”

2023 saw Microsoft sign a 51.4MW PPA with Contact Energy to procure geothermal energy in New Zealand and AWS sign a 103MW wind PPA with Kiwi energy company Mercury. Australian IT service provider Datacom has also partnered with Mercury to supply its NZ data centers with renewable energy.