Energy & solar news summary #3

We’re all about saving you energy and have rounded up this week's solar and energy news so you don’t have to.

Despite claims by power companies that power prices are flat, Statistics New Zealand says NZ power prices increased last year by more than three times the rate of inflation, rising by 3.6%. The Herald reports that the Electricity Authority’s annual review shows 385,000 households changed their electricity provider in 2014 as consumers looked to save money on power. Scoop reports that more than 50% of Canterbury power consumers have switched power companies in the past five years. If all eligible Kiwi households had switched to the cheapest electricity provider during the year they could have collectively saved $281 million or an average of $162 per household.

In the US, Hillary Clinton, who is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is pledging to have more than half a billion solar panels installed nationwide within four years of taking office. This would increase solar capacity in the US by 700%.

Large scale solar projects are also in the news. China is starting it’s largest solar plant in the Gobi desert which will supply one million households and Ikea is installing more than 4000 panels on its massive store in Missouri which will add to the 700,000 panels it has already installed worldwide.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies to the tune of $10 million per minute. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas, reports the Guardian. Here in NZ solar works without subsidy and our solarZero plan allows you to install solar with little or no upfront cost.

In a separate story, the UK paper also warns that private investors stand to lose trillions of dollars due to the impacts of climate change which is a strong argument for governments to accelerate the switch to clean technologies which do not rely on subsidies.