Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology

Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta.

The installation of renewable technology, such as solar panels and batteries, on public and Māori housing is supported with a $28 million fund that will run over four years.

“We’re running this trial to test new and innovative ways to make energy affordable for people. It also supports our renewable energy and climate change goals – testing new ways of generating power at a local level, and integrating into local electricity networks,” Megan Woods said.

“I’m keen to look at opportunities to trial energy solutions on our public housing stock. We can test whether local generation and storage works for public housing tenants, and what benefits this would deliver if invested at scale across our housing and development programmes.

“It’s imperative that Māori housing is warm and secure and this policy will go a long way to make this happen for out whānau, says Hon Nanaia Mahuta

“I’m also aware that Māori organisations are keen to invest in renewable energy to support warm healthy housing, help achieve our climate change goals, and develop Whenua Māori.

“There is a growing interest in New Zealand for small scale, renewable energy at a household and community level. This funding is an opportunity to pilot some new solutions that complements our other work on energy efficiency and affordability. This also supports our COVID-19 recovery goals – piloting solutions to make energy more affordable, and supporting work in our renewable energy industries,” says Megan Woods.

A number of agencies, including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, Kāinga Ora and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority are developing an implementation plan for this initiative, and will able to provide further information to interested parties in late 2020.

Agencies will look to build on existing initiatives and relationships such as the Māori Housing Network to help identify opportunities for investment in Māori housing and Whenua Māori.

This financial year $4 million of funding will be available, ramping up to $10 million in the 2023/2024 financial year.