By Nick Hedley
BlackRock Real Assets has agreed to buy solarZero, a rooftop solar and smart battery company based in New Zealand, and says it will invest NZ$100 million (US$60 million) over the next three years to accelerate the company’s growth.
This marks BlackRock Real Assets’ first investment in New Zealand and its first residential solar investment in the Asia Pacific.
Established in 2008, solarZero sets fixed monthly solar services fees for residential and commercial customers, with no initial upfront installation costs for the consumer. It has installed 8,500 solar systems to date and aims to expand into other markets in the Asia Pacific.
Its systems are run as virtual power plants – networks of solar and smart batteries that supply excess power they generate into the grid.
New Zealand has set a target of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035 and to be a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Yet residential solar penetration is currently at 2%, BlackRock said in a statement.
“New Zealand is widely recognised as a global leader in renewable energy and climate finance, and we are pleased to make our first investment in this market,” said Charlie Reid, BlackRock’s Asia-Pacific co-head of climate infrastructure.
“solarZero is a global pioneer, and we look forward to supporting its expansion into other Asia-Pacific markets and, at the same time, to accelerating New Zealand’s net zero journey.”
Andrew Booth, CEO and founder of solarZero, said: “By 2030, 50% of the world's energy will be generated in the Asia Pacific region. The window to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis is closing fast, and the power couple of solar plus storage is one of the few true paths to energy security, stable power prices, and a livable planet.”
BlackRock Real Assets recently invested in Australian battery energy developer Akaysha, Taiwanese solar energy firm New Green Power, Korean renewable energy developers KREDO and Brite Energy Partners, and Australian electric vehicle charging provider JOLT.