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The Sun powers our planet. Every day it bathes us in 10,000 times more energy that we consume. Just an hour's worth of sun power could electrify our world for a year. Our online monitoring system, SolarTrak, is the world’s first smart software platform that continuously monitors your systems performance to ensure that it is delivering the best possible savings.
The High Cost of Electricity
New Zealander’s pay more than two thirds more for their electricity than Australians.
Power prices have climbed relentlessly over the past decade and the Government is currently planning the partial sale of our electricity assets to the private sector. It is unlikely that these asset sales will guarantee any certainty for low and stable electricity prices for families. With prices having increased by 87% to 26c/kwk during the decade to May 2011, there are now 25% of our families living in fuel poverty. Cold homes probably play a role in the 1600 extra deaths that occur in winter, as many families struggle to pay to keep their homes warm.
Will solar help lower electricity bills and will it add value to my home?
Yes! Becoming your own power source by installing solar panels is a giant step towards gaining energy independence and freedom from rising electricity rates. You can lower energy costs and reduce your bills immediately when you install solar. When electricity rates rise, you’ll be largely protected because you will only be buying a proportion, or none, of your power from energy retailers.
About 29% of domestic electricity is used for heating water in the average New Zealand home. Solar hot water alone can achieve savings of up to 75% of hot water usage, effectively giving each family in New Zealand up to a week’s free power every month. In addition, solar could increase the value of our homes. In America, solar electricity savings translate directly into an increased home resale value. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that home values rise an average of $20 for every $1 reduction in annual electricity bills. This means saving $600 per year in electricity costs can increase your home value by $12,000. According to recent research, solar homes also sell twice as fast as ordinary homes when it comes time to move on.
Does New Zealand have a good solar resource?
New Zealand has a world class solar resource. We have more solar capacity than Germany, a country that is currently one of the highest users of solar technology. Solar power is expected, by the International Energy Agency, to be able to provide 60% of global electricity by 2060.
The graph below illustrates the solar radiation potential of areas across New Zealand, by comparison to the larger solar markets nationally and internationally.
Revitalise the Economy
At SolarCity, we share President Obama’s view that the nation that leads the world in clean energy in the 21st Century, will be the nation that leads the global economy in the 21st Century.
Within our communities, if 10,000 houses in each city or region had solar water heating, then that city or region would save $5.6 million in electricity costs going out of it every year, helping to stimulate economic development.
Today in the US, solar jobs now outnumber steel jobs, and, in Germany, solar jobs outnumber nuclear jobs. And yet, in a country with an abundance of sunshine hours, we are the last remaining manufacturer of solar panels.
New Zealand businesses must not miss out on this green energy revolution. Neither must our cold, hard pressed communities, none of which want to be paying ever-increasing power bills as the price for electricity and oil escalates
Solve the Climate Crisis
This summer, in the northern hemisphere, climate change has overwhelmed a millennia long cycle of natural cooling in the Arctic, raising temperatures in the region to their highest for at least 2000 years.
Few challenges facing the nation are more urgent than the twin crisis of climate change and oil depletion. Solar helps everyone save money and be part of the solution to climate change. Solar is an important building block of a new carbon-free clean energy future.
New Zealand's best selling point, in key international markets, is our clean green brand. The biggest risk to this is the perception internationally that we're not taking climate change seriously.
If New Zealand was able to just put solar hot water systems onto 90% of homes, as seen in Israel, then Kiwis would save over half a billion dollars a year, and we would stop about 450,000 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere every year.
Peak Oil is Fast Approaching
You may have heard the term “peak oil”, which simply refers to the point at which the world is producing more oil than it ever has before or ever will again. Some experts believe we have already passed that point, which is why the price of fuel is rising, others see it as still a few years out. In any event, at some point in the not-too-distant future, demand for oil will outstrip supply, and the world will suffer a severe oil crunch.
So what does peak oil have to do with solar power? As we approach the end of oil, scientists are racing to invent new ways of powering vehicles. We’re now seeing a major re-launch of the electric car industry, which fizzled out in the late 1990’s, but is now making what will likely be a permanent comeback. The question has now become: What will power this new fleet of electric vehicles? If everyone plugs their cars into the grid, that means we’ll be burning even more coal and natural gas than we are now. That’s where solar comes in — we have partnered with Mitsubishi to build the nation’s first solar car charging station, helping Kiwis drive their cars on sunshine for the first time.
Home Solar makes us more energy independent
Using solar energy reduces our reliance on foreign oil, and makes New Zealand more energy independent. New Zealand imports an increasing percentage of its primary energy needs, making us more vulnerable to price spikes and shortages. Whatever you think about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it can hardly be a coincidence that the oil-rich Middle East has more geopolitical conflicts than any other region of the world.