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Electricity in New Zealand is not getting any cheaper. Isn’t it time to ‘go solar’ and start saving money on your electricity bills?
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Why Solar Power?
Solar promises us cheap energy from the sun. It doesn’t work well everywhere in the world. But here in New Zealand we are lucky enough to have lots of sunshine hours and high UV levels. Which means solar panels work well in NZ.
There are lots of potential benefits from generating your own power (or heating water) from the sun. Saving money on your electricity bills is just one of them. You can also get battery based systems that mean you don’t need to be connected to the grid, or can be used where national grid connection is impossible or prohibitively expensive.
Solar also offers a future where we can move away from dependence on fossil fuels – burning coal and gas to generate electricity. Or even to power our electric cars with energy generated from our own roof. Solar technology is improving all the time, making it an integral part of our cleaner greener New Zealand.
Types Of Solar Systems
Most people are surprised to find that there is more to solar power than just generating electricity. You can find out more in What Is Solar Power?
These solar panels are what most people think of as a solar installation (PV or photovoltaics). They directly generate electricity from the sun. Normally you can also sell units that you don't use back to the electricity company too. To offset what you use at night.
Solar Hot Water
With these systems water flows through pipes and is heated directly by the sun. It's very effective and can quickly produce a tank full of hot water - enough for the whole family. For average households 30% of electricity bills are just from heating water.
Solar With Batteries
This is the ultimate in home electricity generation. It can be grid connected or entirely off-grid. With modern battery technology you can easily have backup power stored to last you 7 days with no sunshine at all. Need more, just add more batteries.
What Does It Cost?
It really depends on your specific needs so it’s always best to get a personal quote. But as a general guideline you can expect to now pay around $6,000 – $9,000 for a solar power (PV panel) system fully installed. That’s a system suitable for a small to medium sized home. A battery based system will cost significantly more. And other factors such as a more complex install can increase that price too. Solar hot water systems start from as little as $3,500.
Prices have dropped dramatically over the last 10 years, due to technological advancements and improvements in panel efficiencies. But have now reached a sweet spot where they are unlikely to fall much further. So now is a great time to get a solar installer in.
How Much Could You Save?
There are a lot of variables to contend with – everything from sunshine hours where you live to the size of the system you install, if you use more energy in the daytime or nighttime and what the ‘buyback rate’ is from your electricity company.
But as a really rough guide a medium size system could save anywhere from $700 to $1,000 per year. It could pay for itself in as little as 10 years. With ever rising electricity prices, it could be even faster.
Cora Ball NZ – solar power is just one way you can help to reduce your environmental impact. Find out more about this innovative laundry product that aims to help householders cut down on their microplastic pollution too.