Solar energy vision generates major funding and BDO award

Imagine a nationwide network of utility scale solar energy, existing alongside traditional New Zealand farms, offering clean energy generation, sustainable new land use and additional income streams for agricultural landowners. 

This exciting vision held by Gary Holden, Managing Director of Lodestone Energy, is becoming a reality, highlighting that doing good for the planet can also be good for business. View the full story below.

Lodestone is now leading the New Zealand market in developing grid-scale solar energy. Innovative, agri-voltaic technology ensures land remains multi-use once solar panels are installed. Once complete, the design allows machinery and livestock to exist around the solar arrays, meaning agriculture, horticulture, and grazing can continue at high productivity.  

To raise capital for this visionary project, 2022 saw Lodestone engage Jarden Principal Investments as part of a $300 million capital plan. This would kickstart construction on Lodestone’s first five solar farms and fund the purchase of another three sites for development.  

Jarden presented the opportunity to some of New Zealand’s top investors and entrepreneurs, attracting investment from Jarden Principal Investments, ACC, Purpose Capital, Rod Drury, Sir Stephen Tindall and Sam Morgan amongst others. 

The complexity, size and success of this capital raise was recently recognised at the 2023 INFINZ Annual Awards, with Lodestone and Jarden announced as joint winners of the BDO Mid-Market Equity Transaction of the Year. The Awards recognise innovation and excellence in New Zealand’s financial sector ecosystem. 

BDO Corporate Finance Partner, Simon Peacocke, spoke to the importance of funding future focussed projects and infrastructure.  

“As sponsors of this award, BDO are particularly pleased the recipients are funding a transaction that will have a significant, positive impact on New Zealand’s environmental sustainability. I hope this inspires other ventures to similarly imagine their growth possibilities and potential ESG outcomes – motivating future waves of Award nominees”. 

Lodestone’s model pairs community and stakeholder collaboration to deliver solar projects that both power the way New Zealanders live and empower the landowners and regions the farms operate in. 

The first five solar farms will generate enough energy to power approximately 50,000 homes, whilst using no water, creating no pollution or noise, and releasing zero emissions in its electricity production. Electricity supply diversification also adds network robustness and provides some insulation for consumers against supply side price increases. 

Gary Holden, Managing Director of Lodestone Energy, has been delighted with the enthusiastic response from investors.  

“Receiving the INFINZ award was well deserved recognition for the diverse team involved in bringing the vision to life. Our team of retail energy partners, lawyers, analysts, advisors and engineers have been amazing to work with and steadfast in pulling together this pioneering venture. Working with Jarden connected us with influential investors who could see the potential in our vision”. 

Jarden Director Andrew Parsonage noted the importance of networks and relationships in creating a successful deal. 

“We could see Gary and the team had an innovative and out-of-the-box offering, so the challenge for us was to connect Lodestone with the right investors who could understand the potential and the long-term benefits. That’s where our investor relationships allow us to get the right people and portfolios together”. 

The transaction excellently showcases the strong expertise available to support mid-market M&A transactions in New Zealand. 

BDO provides a full spectrum of corporate finance advisory services, including capital raising, M&A, tax assistance and corporate restructuring. Get in touch with your local office today to find out more.