‘Generation 2’ battery designed for NZ market strengthens grid as power prices spike

This composite image, featuring a house built by Jennian Homes, shows the new Panasonic home storage battery which is included with solarcity’s solarZero+ energy service.

A new energy storage device that gives Kiwi homeowners greater control over their power use has been launched today by Panasonic and solarcity.

The new 5.3 kWh battery and integrated power management system will help reduce pressure on the grid and protect homeowners as New Zealand’s energy supply comes under strain and power prices spike over winter.

The second generation home solar battery is the result of a 12-month collaboration between Panasonic and solarcity to design a storage solution specifically for the New Zealand market.

“As climate change increasingly impacts on the levels of our hydro lakes, we need to start looking at how we can make our nation’s energy network more resilient rather than becoming more reliant on coal to generate our power.” says solarcity CEO Andrew Booth.

“The new Panasonic home storage battery can be added to our solarZero energy service for about $2 per day and gives homeowners independence, backup power and a smart way to beat the rising cost of power.”

Unusually low inflows have seen South Island hydro lakes drop to about 38% full. This is having an impact on the wholesale price of power. In early June spot prices were about double what they were at the same time last year.

Panasonic Managing Director Stewart Fowler says battery storage will give homeowners more energy independence.

“When you team up the Panasonic home storage battery with solar panels it can cover over half of the average home’s energy needs. That means a big reduction in the amount of power you have to buy from the grid. Plus it gives you the flexibility to choose when you’re buying it so you’re protected from spikes in power prices,” he says.

Adding extra peace of mind, the battery can be used as an emergency backup to run a few critical devices during a power cut.

solarcity is installing the lithium-ion battery as part of its solarZero+ energy service in select homes. solarZero+ allows homeowners to access solar power and battery storage for a fixed, monthly service fee, so there are no capital costs for the equipment. That means customers pay about $2 a day for the battery storage service which includes one full change out when the original battery reaches the end of its life.

solarcity and Panasonic also have a partnership with Jennian Homes which has been building homes for Kiwis for almost 35 years and has witnessed many evolutions in construction.

“Jennian has a clear vision that all new homes in New Zealand should be built with energy efficiency and the future of our planet firmly in mind,” says COO Aidan Jury.

Jennian is offering free power for the a year to the first five of its customers that choose solarZero+ with the new Panasonic battery for their new Jennian home.