On Friday night PowerSmart, a solar electricity company from Mount Maunganui, took out the award for innovation in Clean-tech and Sustainability at the 2012 NZ Innovators Awards in Auckland.
It was a huge honour to be recognised amongst the other great companies that Idealog, Bayer, and Ideas Accelerator brought together for the evening. To win New Zealand Innovators - Clean Tech is a real pleasure and we're very proud of our work on the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project.
The night brought together an impressive range of companies all doing very exciting things that provide us with real inspiration to keep building on what we've started at PowerSmart. We truly enjoy competing for awards like NZ Innovators because so many New Zealand companies are doing things that we can all be very proud of.
"So much of the credit has to go to our great team who works tremendously hard. We're a positive and fast-paced bunch committed to world class results and we all should take the time to recognise what a great achievement the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is. I can't speak highly enough of the great people who work for and with us and dedicate this award entirely to them." Says PowerSmart Managing Director Mike Bassett-Smith.
"Very shortly the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project will be complete and we will be carrying on to other things. We have a placing at the Sustainable 60 Awards in our sights and will not be resting on our laurels. Thank you again to Bayer, Idealog, Ideas Accelerator and Alcatel Lucent for the great award and evening. Thanks also to our great competitors and colleagues for keeping us honest and pushing forward to always get better."
PowerSmart developed from a business concept that it's three founders shared from their University days, where renewable energies would play a big part in today's world. After moving back to New Zealand Mike Bassett-Smith and Shane Robinson started working together to define the scope of their endeavour. Beginning with little other than two laptops and a few surf boards, the idea grew and eventually Dean Parchomchuk was called out to New Zealand to help with the company's bright idea.
Now based in Mount Maunganui, the company is in its fifth year, has grown to 21 employees and has a range of contacts from all over the world. It is now the largest solar power company operating in New Zealand, with an impressive portfolio ranging from small home residential systems to large commercial systems. PowerSmart is about to commission a 1 Megawatt NZAID funded system in Tokelau that is one of the largest off-grid solar systems in the world. They are also panel members for the ACT solar school program, in which the ACT Government is providing $51 million in funding available for schools to install solar and other renewable power systems.
Earlier this year PowerSmart was named United Travel Emerging Exporter of the Year at the BNZ Bay of Plenty Export NZ Awards. They are also finalists in the 2012 Sustainable Business Network and NZ Sustainable 60 Awards and have recently ranked 14th in The New Zealand Herald's Green 50 list of top Kiwi companies helping the environment. In 2011 they won the SEANZ award for 'Largest Small Scale Renewable/Distributed Generation Installation' and in 2010 they won the Sustainable Business Network 'People's Choice Award' and 'Trailblazer Small and Medium Business Award'.
Tokelau Renewable Energy Project
PowerSmart is the lead contractor for the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project which will replace the diesel electricity systems currently operating on each of the islands with solar power systems and battery storage. For this project PowerSmart has collaborated with IT Power Australia, the project is funded by The New Zealand Aid Programme and supported by the Government of Tokelau. The last of the three systems is almost complete and later this month PowerSmart will switch on the system on Atafu Atoll, the third and final solar power system that will enable Tokelau to become 100% solar powered.
The original tender specification called for the solar systems to supply 90% of Tokelau's electricity demand. Through creative design, project management methodology, and sheer scale PowerSmart will be installing solar systems capable of providing 150% of current electricity demand allowing the Tokelauans to expand their electricity use without increasing diesel use.
"This system is among the largest off-grid solar power systems in the world" says director Mike Bassett-Smith. Companies from all over the globe tendered for the project and it was a "big win" for the Mount Maunganui-based company, he said. "News of the contract has also reached our NZ residential customers and has led to an increase in enquiries by New Zealand home owners requesting grid connected solar power to offset their increasing power bills."