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Solar robot race launches energy efficiency project in Papakura

Published: 14 March 2017
Mayor Phil Goff, Edmund Hillary School students, Vector Chairman Michael Stiassny, and Entrust trustees start their solar bot race.

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Energy efficiency project launches with solar robot race

A solar-powered robot race at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura has launched the Energy Efficient Communities Project, a partnership between Entrust, Auckland Council and Vector that will deliver free hot water heat control units, up to 15,000 LED lightbulbs, and energy advice to homeowners in Papakura and Takanini.

The project is taking energy-efficient technology – including solar powerwalls – into homes and schools to help lower electricity bills and improve home health.

Improving affordability, reliability and choice

The Energy Efficient Communities Project is being run as a trial and it forms part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between the organisations to promote sustainable and renewable energy in Auckland including solar technology. The project will improve energy affordability, reliability and choice for Aucklanders.

Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff says the EECP can make a real and practical difference for Aucklanders as the city builds a more sustainable energy network.

“Energy efficiency is good for the community and good for our city. It means more affordable electricity bills, healthier homes and less impact on our environment,” says Mr Goff.

Entrust, Vector’s majority shareholder, is leading and funding the project. Its Chairman William Cairns says the project will improve energy affordability, reliability and choice for Aucklanders.

“The benefits of these energy solutions are well-known at a government and commercial level. It’s important we drive these benefits a community level, where it matters most,” says Mr Cairns.

Free home health checks

The partnership has set a goal to have 1500 homes in Papakura and Takanini sign up for a free home health check. Bookings are available by contacting the EECP team online or by calling 09 890 2299.

If the trial is successful, Council will look to roll it out to other communities in Auckland over the next several years.

Energy-saving programme in schools

In addition, 12 local schools and community facilities will receive a Tesla Powerwall, which stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity. This technology will be complimented by an education programme in local schools which promotes simple actions that families can take to reduce energy bills.

Edmund Hillary Primary School Principal Kataraina Nock welcomed the installation of the solar battery, and believes the simple actions education programme to reduce energy bills will be incredibly beneficial for local families.

“Students take home what they learn at school, and with this project the energy efficiency message is not just about a sustainable city, it’s a conversation about the real and tangible actions families can take,” says Ms Nock.

Mayor Phil Goff, Entrust Trustees, Vector’s Chair Michael Stiassny and Principal Nock competed against each other in the race today, led by students and their solar robot projects.

South Auckland suburbs welcome solar technology with robot sprint (1)
"Team Papakura" were the winners of the solar bot race.
South Auckland suburbs welcome solar technology with robot sprint (2)
New solar panels at Edmund Hillary School, Papakura.