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Smarter homes with solarZero, climate change puts $19 billion of NZ property at risk

Image: The solarZero app - turning Kiwi homes into smarter homes

 We're all about saving you energy and have rounded up the latest solar, climate and energy news so you don't have to.

 Solar and batteries

This week we announced our partnership with Vodafone and the release of our smart solarZero app for monitoring and controlling home energy use. And we were announced as finalists in the 2017 NZ Innovation Awards with our solarZero energy service.

Battery storage is a useful tool for homes, businesses and the national grid says Transpower in its new discussion paper Battery Storage in NZ (PDF).

Of the world's largest 100 cities, 80 would need less than 10 per cent of their land area to be converted into solar panels to sustain their energy usage, reports The Telegraph.

An enormous solar park in the Sahara could soon be exporting electricity to Europe if Tunisia’s government approves an energy company’s request to build it.

Solarplaza has compiled an overview of the 50 biggest solar systems connected to stadiums and sports venues worldwide. Two Japanese solar farms are generating income from power and growing mushrooms in the shade of their solar panels. 

Using artificial and bionic leafs, a Harvard scientist with New Zealand links has created solar biofuels that could run engines. 

Renewables and fossil fuels

Forest & Bird says the $96m purchase of Solid Energy's Stockton mine by BT Mining is a terrible deal for taxpayers and the environment.

NZ electricity companies are scrambling to smarten up their methods for fear that technology could put them on the sidelines of a booming but vulnerable business, reports RNZ.

Energy Minister Judith Collins is accusing the fuel industry of "cynical" price changes, as a battle brews over the accuracy of official data.

France's government has unveiled a law to ban all production and exploration of oil and natural gas by 2040 on the country's mainland and overseas territories.

Climate change

Twin megastorms in the US are a worrying sign of a “new normal” in which extreme weather events become more intense as a result of manmade climate change. NZ climate scientist Professor James Renwick says rising temperatures across the globe will slowly lead to more vicious storms like Hurricane Irma which has caused death in destruction in the Caribbean this week. 

A leaked Ministry for the Environment report estimates $19 billion of property is at risk in New Zealand from the effects of climate change. The policies of the main political parties for tackling climate change are reviewed by the Herald

The NZ forestry industry wants farmers to pay their fair share when it comes to climate change but a group of forestry experts appointed by the Government to look at the issue feels its advice is being ignored, reports TVNZ.

The World Bank has highlighted climate change as a key threat facing the Pacific along with natural disasters and non-communicable diseases. Climate change is a harsh reality for the Pacific Islands. The Tuvalu Climate Action Network is condemning Australia for its continued promotion of the coal industry saying it is putting Pacific communities at risk.

Power prices

A new survey out from Stats NZ shows that 29% of all New Zealand households reported some energy hardship during the 2015/16 year. This indicates struggles to afford power bills, spending large proportions of income on power, and feeling cold in the home.

Electric vehicles

Christchurch will soon have one of the first fully electric car-share schemes in the world, reports Stuff. And Europcar is gearing up to become the first rental car company in the New Zealand to offer fully electrical vehicles as part of its nationwide rental fleet, reports the Herald.

Waste Management NZ says its trial of electric trucks is beating expectations. If that continues then the company will look to convert the majority of its 800-strong truck fleet as vehicles come due  to be replaced, reports Energy News (Paywall).

Mini is making big moves in the electric car world and is introducing a fully-electric concept vehicle sporting the automaker's signature look with a few next-gen flourishes.