43% of New Zealanders expect to have solar power according to the energy for life survey

New Zealand is set to join other progressive nations by embracing solar energy to power homes and businesses. Pulse Energy's New Zealand Energy Survey of nearly 10,000 New Zealanders found that 43% of respondents wanted to use solar power in the future. 

The survey found that New Zealanders saw solar energy as an important complementary source to the hydro, wind and geothermal renewable energy sources currently used to power our country. 

"With the cost of solar power dropping to be competitive with day-time solar prices, we expected the interest level to be increasing across the country." says Pulse Chief Executive Gary Holden. "However, this level of expectation is well above what we might have predicted. New Zealanders seemed to be well informed of the benefits of solar power and are keen to embrace what is arguably the greenest of all energy sources." 

Already, over 2,000 households in New Zealand power their homes using solar energy. A figure that has increased significantly from 2007 where only 15 households were powered by solar energy. The growing trend is a consequence of the falling cost of solar systems while at the same time the cost of grid power is increasing. 

With the advent of smart meters that can measure power usage every hour, setting a price during the day will soon be commonplace. "Day-time energy prices are generally higher than at night because the grid is largely unutilised after hours." added Gary Holden. "Producing energy during the day will help consumers reduce the more expensive portion of their bill. Energy retailers will be happy to buy back unused power and sell it to other customers. Its a real win-win scenario." 

Solar panels cost around $10,000 to be installed on a medium sized home. While a significant sum, these panels can last more than 25 years. Given that a well-positioned set of panels can save a household up to $1000 per year, the savings over their life is good compared to the initial outlay. This is particularly good when you consider that prices are expected to escalate over time. 

Nations that have embraced solar power have had remarkable uptake of the technology. According to renewable energy website Cleantechnica, Germany has about 400 MW per million people, Italy has 280 MW per million and Australia over 100 MW per mission. On this basis, New Zealand should be set to incorporate more than 500 MW of solar production; or enough to supply 1/3 of Auckland on a sunny day. 

This article was courtesy of Pulse Energy, to read more click here to visit their blog.