Skip to Content

A new concept in renewable energy

Being developed on 400 hectares of land just beside the runways, Christchurch Airport’s new development Kōwhai Park has the potential to deliver a range of renewable energies.

In creating Kōwhai Park, Christchurch Airport is building opportunity for businesses and organisations looking for an ideal site for any renewable generation project or a future supply of green energy.

The right location

Kōwhai Park is well-located for renewable energy generation as it is:

  • Right beside New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch
  • Adjacent to Transpower’s national grid and Orion's Canterbury lines network
  • Close to future energy consumers
  • Easily accessed via main transport links.

Phase One partners confirmed

Christchurch Airport has selected one of New Zealand's largest energy companies Contact and international solar business Lightsource bp to develop the first stage of Kōwhai Park.

This first phase will be a solar farm that will span around 300-hectares on land just behind the airport’s runways. 159 hectares of this land is owned by Environment Canterbury and leased to Christchurch Airport.

Lightsource bp is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects. Its team includes over 1,000 industry specialists working across 19 global regions. 

In April 2022, Contact and Lightsource bp entered an exclusive partnership to co-develop grid scale solar farms in New Zealand.

Kōwhai Park is expected to be the first of a number of planned solar farms for the Lightsource bp and Contact partnership in New Zealand.

With around 300,000 solar panels, Kōwhai Park’s solar farm will be among the largest in New Zealand.

It’s expected to generate 150MW (or 170MWp) of energy per year. The equivalent needed to power:

  • Around 36,000 New Zealand homes.
  • Around 50% of Christchurch’s domestic flights when converted to low-emission technologies.

The solar farm will have the same carbon benefit as planting around 1.25 million native trees and shrubs.

Both Contact and Lightsource bp have a proven track record of renewable energy project delivery and are proud to have been selected to deliver the solar farm.

All going well construction will begin in 2024.

In April 2022, Contact and Lightsource bp formed a joint venture partnership to develop grid-scale solar generation projects in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Together, Contact and Lightsource bp are proud to have been selected to develop phase one of Kōwhai Park and, subject to a successful investment decision will build, own and operate the Kōwhai Park solar farm.

Both Contact and Lightsource bp have a proven track record of renewable energy project delivery and will work closely with Christchurch Airport to bring this project to life.

There’s a strong team behind Kōwhai Park

“We’re bringing our proven track record of delivering domestic renewable projects in order to meet the massive anticipated demand for renewable electricity in New Zealand.”

Mike Fuge, Chief Executive, Contact

“We’re delighted to launch our first project in New Zealand and to be partnering with organisations who, like us, want to play a leading role in the country’s decarbonisation.”

Adam Pegg, Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand, Lightsource bp

“As the electricity lines company for central Canterbury, Orion is pleased to be able to support Kōwhai Park. We are excited to work with Christchurch Airport and these newly announced partners on this significant project in our region.”
Nigel Barbour, Chief Executive, Orion

“Many people don’t realise that Environment Canterbury is a significant land owner – it’s exciting to see some of that land being used for Kōwhai Park. This project will make a big difference to Canterbury’s efforts to decarbonise.”

Peter Scott, Chair, Environment Canterbury

A solid foundation

Phase One partners: Contact and Lightsource bp

Watch video

Kōwhai Park's ecosystem in 2050

Kōwhai Park is a platform for generating green energy at scale. Ideally located next to Transpower and Orion’s network, this energy can be delivered straight to potential customers to help them decarbonise. There will be demand for this energy from both existing businesses and future industries, including green data centres and vertical farming.

Christchurch Airport is currently investigating the opportunity to generate green hydrogen onsite in the future.

Find out more


Kōwhai Park will provide a resilient supply of clean energy which New Zealand needs to decarbonise through electrification.


Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions.


If you have a question about Kōwhai Park, you can email the team at any stage.