Article - What you should know about solar power

What you should know about solar power

The price of solar power is falling in New Zealand and more Kiwis are snapping up solar panels to take advantage of our abundant energy resource: the sun. There are lots of benefits from switching to solar power, and here are some of the main ones. I hope you find some helpful advice on how to use solar power to best advantage.

Advantages of solar

It goes without saying that solar power is much better for the environment than burning fossil fuels. Solar panels fitted on rooftops make use of vacant real estate by taking advantage of existing roof angles. With a slight tilt, the panels are in the optimal position to collect the sun’s rays. And without moving parts, they don’t interfere with the environment. The majority of solar panel parts are made from glass and aluminum, which can both be recycled at the end of the panels’ lifespan.

Solar power will save you money on electricity bills. It’s an up front investment, but it will save you money in the long run. A 3kW system with an approximate installed price tag of $10,000 could save you up to $1,000 a year in power bills, giving you a 10% return on investment*.

To get a good return on investment with solar power it’s important to make sure you use most of your solar power during the day, when it’s created by the sun. Therefore, using a timer on your hot water cylinder, washing machine and dishwasher will help to achieve a solid return on investment.

Solar power helps you to gain energy independence. Relying on your own solar power means that when there are electricity price increases you won’t be as affected.

How to get started

There are many deciding factors when it comes to installing a solar power system, such as how many panels should be installed, what kind of inverter is needed, and whether to include batteries to store power for use at night.

You can work this out on your own, but talking to a solar power expert can be really valuable. Solar power experts can look at your energy consumption and tell you how to receive the best return on your investment. They will calculate how much solar power you can expect to generate in a year, taking into account your exact location, roof angle and roof orientation.

How do you pick a solar installation company?

Investing in a solar power system is not a small purchase. So it’s critical to select an installer that will fully commit to your project, advising you on the best setup and providing you with excellent service. To gauge commitment and service levels, select an installer that responds quickly and effectively to your enquiries. is a service that can provide free quotes from three different companies for a solar power system via an online form.

Although it is not mandatory for a solar company to have a membership with SEANZ (Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand), this membership usually signals a quality solar installer company. SEANZ runs an industry accreditation programme and only accepts reputable companies - it has strict requirements for membership.

Financing options for solar power systems is also something to consider. There are a lot of financing deals available, and they can be helpful in getting solar power quickly. However, financing deals may come with high interest rates and fees which will diminish your return on investment. Financing the system through a home mortgage can be a good option for those that can do so, and it is something that most banks are happy for you to add on to an existing mortgage.

*This calculation is based on working out how much power a 3kW solar power system would generate in Auckland, New Zealand. Different regions around New Zealand gain different levels of solar power. The calculation is also based on the assumption that 80% of the power generated is used directly by the household, offsetting grid power that would normally cost 30c per kilowatt per hour(kWh).  The buyback power rate used is 8c per kWh.

Kristy Hoare is the managing director of Ecobob and My Solar Quotes.

Comments | 4

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    Superficial article. How about talking about line charges vs battery costs/lifetime, about the size of systems you need for a household. This is really nothing more than an advertisement. Disappointing ecostore.

    You should also mention that 90% of NZs power (I think this is over 2016) was generated from renewables, so actually its not about fossil fuels vs solar panels on your roof!
    By Louise on Fri August 19, 2016
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    Hi James, there is a lot of information on the My Solar Quotes website where hopefully you'll find what you need. Thank you!
    By Melanie Rands on Mon July 25, 2016
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    Can you please provide more information on totally off the grid systems. Panels, invertor, battery say for an 8kw setup.
    By James Joll on Sun July 24, 2016
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    Just doing a new build.
    By Brian Hutching on Fri July 22, 2016

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