A plan to build the country's largest solar farm in the Mackenzie Basin has gone out for consultation - just a month after another nearby solar farm application was denied.
Far North Solar Farm has applied for resource consent to build a 420MWp solar farm which could power 100,000 homes on 670 hectare farm on the northern shore of Lake Benmore.
The farmland, which is used as dairy support, is owned by Douglas McIntyre.
Far North Solar director Richard Holmewood said the company chose the farmland for its prime location.
"It's flat and sits within an already highly modified landscape of existing power infrastructure beside the Ohau hydropower station and national electricity grid transmission lines.
"Close proximity to grid connection points is a vital element of successful solar farm design."
Just last month - consent to build a solar farm in nearby Tekapo was declined - due to potential effects on the area known to be ecologically significant.
Holmewood said Far North Solar had done its due diligence with its site.
"The site we've got has very little ecology left, we've had ecologists go through the site and a lot of other stakeholders and the feedback has always been that there doesn't seem to be anything left, apart from exotic grasses."
The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) submitted against the last solar farm planned for the Mackenzie Basin.
Chief executive Gary Taylor said solar farms would be vital to grow the country's renewable energy in the next few decades - they just needed to be in the right place.
He said more information was needed on the latest plan.
"Well the Mackenzie Country is a very sensitive environment, it's a basin surrounded by hills at high altitude it's very dry and it has outstanding landscapes and ecological values.
"So any development in the basin needs to be assessed very carefully before it can proceed."
Taylor said the EDS had been in touch with Far North Solar about doing its own assessments of the site.
"They need to get through the gateway test which is section 104 of the Resource Management Act that says the environmental effects are minor or it's not contrary to the provisions of the regional and district plans.
"I'd say they'd argue the environmental impacts will be minor, we just need to check that."
New Zealand needed a more strategic approach because there would be more renewable projects coming out in the next few decades, he said.
"We need to get away from ad-hoc consenting processes which are time consuming and expensive."
National has signalled it will fast-track the consenting process for renewable energy projects.
The Mackenzie District Council had no comment on Far North Solar Farm's plan.