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Vector and Auckland Council to light Auckland Harbour Bridge

Published: 27 May 2017
  • Artist's render of the the lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge.
  • Artist's render of the the lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge.
  • Artist's render of the the lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge will soon be covered in coloured lights as part of the multi-million dollar energy efficiency partnership between Vector and Auckland Council. 

The iconic landmark will be the first bridge in the world to have all its lighting – operational, structural and special event – able to be powered entirely by solar-stored energy. Six hundred and thirty solar panels and one gigantic energy-storage battery will power the bridge lights, and the energy system will also be able to supply power for use in Wynyard Quarter.

The LED lights will be individually controlled and capable of transforming the bridge with lighting shows for special events and occasions.

Quick facts

  • first bridge in the world to be fully lit by solar generated energy, stored in batteries
  • nearly 90,000 individual LED lights, and 200 LED floodlights
  • 2716m of linear strip that will contain nearly 70,000 of the LED lights
  • more than 630 solar panels
  • one mega-battery that stores enough energy to power 200 houses
  • 10-year partnership between Vector and Auckland Council

10-year partnership

Lighting the bridge represents the next phase of a 10-year partnership between Vector and Auckland Council.  Together, they are already promoting the use of energy efficient technology in homes and schools via a community programme in Auckland’s southern suburbs.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, "The harbour bridge is an icon of Auckland. Lighting it up will make the city at night a more interesting and vibrant sight.

"Powered by solar energy it will also reflect our commitment as a city to energy efficiency, sustainability and low-carbon emissions.

"It's great to partner with Vector on this project. I welcome their vision and their commitment to making Auckland a more interesting and better place to live."

Vector has forged an international reputation as an innovator in the energy sector regularly collaborating with global technology leaders. Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie said the capabilities learnt as a result means it has developed the expertise to deliver this world first.

“No one will ever look at the bridge in the same way when the new lights are turned on and it will highlight Vector’s commitment to making sustainable energy available to the businesses and homes of Aucklanders,” Mr Mackenzie said.

About the lights

The bridge will feature nearly 90,000 LED lights and 200 floodlights, using just half the energy of standard lighting and lasting five to seven times longer. Lights will only need to be replaced every 10-15 years meaning maintenance crews will spend less time on the bridge. One of the key benefits of using large numbers of individually controlled LEDs, is that the intensity of each light can be regulated.

The new bridge lighting will be fully compliant with illumination requirements under the coastal marine provisions of the district plan.

More than 630 solar panels will be installed close to the bridge while a large scale 500kW/1MWh utility battery will store the energy - enough to power 200 houses for more than two hours.

The planning and installation of the lights is expected to take several months once council planning, consenting and NZTA approval processes have been completed. A special event will mark the official turning on of the lights and the transformation of an Auckland icon into a global icon.

Vector and Auckland Council Energy Efficiency Partnership

Vector and Auckland Council have committed to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Vector, which is contributing multi-millions of dollars to the project, will meet the bulk of the costs in operating and maintaining the new lights while Auckland Council will fund digital programming of the lights, special events activations and promotion. The council will also explore the possibility of commercial arrangements over time to further enhance the support of existing and new lighting projects and events.

The partnership’s other initiative, the Efficient Energy Communities Project, which includes Entrust, is delivering 10,000 free LED lightbulbs, hot water heat control units and home energy advice to homes in Papakura and Takanini.

Ten local organisations, eight schools, two kindergartens, and two community facilities, will also each receive an energy saving Tesla Powerwall – a solar-driven battery that delivers reliable electricity around the clock. The provision of energy efficient technology is also being complemented by an education programme in local schools which promotes simple actions that families can take to reduce energy bills.