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solarZero wins Finance for Impact Award at CFO Awards

by Paul Morgan

New Zealand’s largest provider of solar energy, solarZero, has been awarded the prestigious Finance for Impact Award at the 2023 New Zealand CFO Awards. The CEO of solarZero, Matt Ward, accepted the award at a ceremony on Thursday night in honor of the company’s solarZero Schools initiative.

The solarZero Schools program aims to equip as many schools in New Zealand as possible with solar energy systems. This initiative has garnered recognition and praise from various sectors due to its innovative approach. The program allows schools to adopt solar energy without any upfront capital investment. Through the solarZero Schools program, schools are guaranteed savings on their electricity expenditures for a span of 20 years.

Ward expressed his excitement at receiving this award and highlighted the importance of the solarZero Schools initiative. He mentioned the positive response from the school communities they have worked with thus far and expressed enthusiasm about expanding the program’s reach in the future.

Collaboration with various organizations, including the Ministry of Education (MOE), Ecotricity, and NZ Green Investment Finance (NZGIF), has been instrumental in developing the solarZero Schools program. This collaboration was necessary to achieve the program’s objectives, which include reducing New Zealand’s emissions from the electricity sector by up to 5%, educating school children about renewable energy, providing schools with 100% Toitū Climate Positive electricity, and offering guaranteed savings and additional income opportunities for schools.

The solarZero Schools program required the creation of a new business and funding model. The goal was to develop an Energy Service that provided schools with guaranteed savings without requiring any upfront capital. Ward explained that traditional power purchase agreements are challenging for schools as they involve risks and require expertise outside their domain. Therefore, the solarZero team worked on developing a model that was tailored specifically for schools’ needs and involved technical and financial innovation.

This recent award adds to solarZero’s growing list of accomplishments. Earlier this week, the company won the Innovation in Energy Award at the 2023 New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards. This award recognized solarZero’s commitment to transforming New Zealand’s power system through advanced management of their battery systems.

These awards highlight solarZero’s pioneering efforts in the field of solar energy and their dedication to sustainability and education. By working closely with schools, the company is not only reducing emissions and providing cost savings but also empowering the next generation with knowledge about renewable energy and its role in decarbonizing the country.

As solarZero continues to expand its solarZero Schools program, it sets an example for other companies and organizations to prioritize sustainable practices and invest in renewable energy initiatives. The success of this program demonstrates the positive impact that can be achieved through collaboration and innovation in the pursuit of a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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