ecostore New Zealand Blog

Fairground Foundation and Vector gearing up for a solar future.
Posted On October 7th, 2013

Installing the sloar panels onto the roof of the ecostore building in Freemans Bay

The installation of 48 solar panels on the roof of the ecostore shop in Freeman’s Bay, marks an historic moment this week resulting in New Zealand’s first net zero energy commercial building. The former Freeman’s Bay boat shed will run entirely on solar power from the highly efficient solar panels, designed to generate over 17,500 kWh per year – enough to supply both floors of the building with all of its electricity requirements.

ecostore’s not-for-profit arm, Fairground Foundation has been working with Vector to bring this project to life which fits in perfectly with Fairground’s mission to create a healthier, more sustainable world through on-the-ground action.

Vector also currently operates a solar pilot residential programme with a limited number of Auckland homeowners, one of which includes my own home.

The solar system allows solar power to be intelligently integrated into Vector’s electricity network. By combining solar panels with battery storage and a smart control system, the energy produced from the solar panels can be stored and used both when it is needed in the building and during times of peak network demand.

The batteries are a Lithium-ion battery pack, the same technology used in the car industry to power hybrid electric vehicles. The batteries also provide a measure of resilience with some backup in the unlikely event of a grid outage.

And the good thing is that the businesses at 1 Scotland Street will not need to change their electricity usage behaviour to achieve the net zero energy result.

The solar power solution is designed to offset the tenants’ electricity usage during the day when usage will be at its peak and also have the assurance, through the battery storage, of being able to use solar power when the sun isn’t shining and in the evening. A fixed monthly fee is all that is required for the solar services.

We’ve been solar energy efficient at home, at the ecostore East Tamaki factory and now at the ecostore shop building. It’s a great feeling to know you’re doing the right thing.

The Fairground Solar Project has had a good write up in the NZ Herald here and a mention on NewsTalk ZB site

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