AWARDS FINALIST: TLC enables iwi energy solutions

14 Aug 2023

The Lines Company (TLC) collaborated with post-settlement agency Te Nehenehenui Trust, Ecotricity and the marae community to provide equitable, community-based renewable energy solutions.

The partnership between TLC and Te Nehenehenui (TNN) has seen a targeted whānau-based service extend beyond solar panels to the sharing of energy on a peer-to-peer trading platform. The scheme focuses on sustainability and energy education and includes in-home energy assessments to deliver positive outcomes for the community of Mōkau.


TLC worked with iwi to generate electricity from renewable resources, recognising that this could help facilitate the push towards decarbonisation. In the right locations, solar can provide equitable energy solutions for customers and also help TLC provide secure energy supplies in more remote parts of its network.

Working alongside TNN, TLC sought funding from MBIE’s Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund to trial renewable energy solutions and improve the wellbeing of people in public and Māori housing.

The pair agreed to collaborate and commission installations at two marae and assist with the collection of data to analyse the impact of the project.

Each $100,000 pilot comprises 56 solar panels, each with a 330 W solar output. Excess energy is gifted through a technology platform to other users. The first started in September 2022.

TLC’s Customer and Community Engagement team worked alongside the marae and recipients of the gifted solar energy to help them better understand electricity and how they could maximise the benefits of the project.

The project coincided with a number of building upgrades recently undertaken at Māniaroa Marae, helping to ensure the marae maximised the opportunity to generate electricity for marae-based use, while helping others by sharing excess energy and future-proofing renewable energy in the Mōkau area.


Just over 8400 kWh of renewable energy was generated in the three months ending January 2023. About 87 per cent of that was gifted. On average, the five participating households are saving $100 per month on their energy bills.

The Māniaroa Marae project will continue for a further nine months, providing a full 12 months of data in which the solutions can be analysed. The solar panels, and the ability for the marae to share energy through the peer-to-peer trading platform, will remain in place on an ongoing basis. The marae will continue using solar power and gifting excess energy.

The second project with TNN, at Taarewaanga Marae in Ōtorohanga, was set to see five local households receive reduced power costs from the beginning of May.

Alongside the two TNN solar initiatives, TLC has undertaken a third renewable energy project with the Tūwharetoa Health Charitable Trust to install solar array and hot water cylinders at four whare in Tūrangi – sharing excess energy with an additional five homes.

Working with iwi organisations and the marae, TLC has successfully modelled a distributed energy solution and supporting services to deliver a range of positive outcomes for whānau and hapū.

TLC see the project as progression towards major change in the energy sector, noting that the model is scalable and can be rolled out countrywide.

TLC are providing equitable energy outcomes and believe they are leading the way, by being the first electricity distributor to trial the innovative peer-to-peer technology trading platform.

The Community Initiative of the Year Award category is sponsored by Eagle Technology