BlackRock acquires solar firm in New Zealand

Ahead of expansion into Asia Pacific

BlackRock’s climate infrastructure business, based in Asia Pacific, has agreed to acquire solarZero, a solar and smart battery provider in New Zealand, by way of a scheme of arrangement.

The asset manager has committed NZD$100m of capital over the next three years to accelerate the growth of solarZero’s technology platform.

solarZero is one of the main providers of roof-top solar and smart battery across residential, commercial and community buildings in New Zealand and aims to make solar energy more accessible for New Zealanders, while also reducing their carbon footprint and electricity bills.

It has ambitions of becoming a global provider with plans to expand into a range of markets in Asia Pacific, with a near-term focus on Australia, as well as looking at Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

Charlie Reid, Asia-Pacific co-head of climate infrastructure at BlackRock, said, “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. Our move into New Zealand demonstrates BlackRock’s commitment to invest in attractive markets as part of our broader efforts to offer a flow of addressable global climate investment opportunities for our clients.

“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.”

The climate infrastructure business sits within BlackRock Real Assets. The group highlighted in a statement Asia Pacific is a leading region for rooftop solar accounting for 41% of global capacity in 2021 and represents a $4trn opportunity by 2050.

Andrew Landman, head of New Zealand and Australia at the group, commented: “The investment in solarZero further broadens BlackRock Real Assets’ climate infrastructure portfolio in the Asia-Pacific region following its recent investments in Australian battery energy developer, Akaysha, Taiwanese solar energy firm, New Green Power, Korean renewables energy developers, KREDO and Brite Energy Partners, and Australian EV charging provider JOLT, which recently launched in New Zealand.”

Andrew Booth, CEO and founder of solarZero, said BlackRock’s investment and backing will enable the firm to “rapidly increase our scale, grow our energy services network and accelerate the transition to a 100% clean energy future”. 

“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 liveable planet. 

“We need to take urgent action and accessing BlackRock’s global network and deep expertise in climate infrastructure will provide the support we need to become a global “solar-as-a-service” solution.”