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Sunny weather attracts Wellington solar storage power system

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown at the installation of solarcity's first home solar battery system in New Zealand. Photo by Marty Melville

Wellington’s sunny weather has attracted a nationwide solar power company to launch the first installation in New Zealand of a new technology residential storage battery charged by solar power at a Wellington home today.

The Panasonic battery will enable the system to be part of Transpower’s electricity demand response programme, when installed as part of solarcity’s energy service.

Solarcity Chief Executive Andrew Booth says Wellington has around 2050 (www.enz.org) sunshine hours a year and is perfect for solar power generation which he says will save electricity costs and provide a back-up in times of power failure.

“We have been in the solar power game for many years and this is our first foray into Wellington,” he says.

Booth says the decision to launch its solarZero+ service was driven by information from a Wellington City Council solar radiation roof mapping tool which shows suburbs and roofs where a solar power installation would provide benefits for owners and residents.

“Now in Wellington you can put your roof to work,” Booth says.

“You have an asset sitting idle and now it can save money and help the environment. Anyone can now make the simple switch to solar, all you need is a good roof,” he says.

Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who connected the battery at the Khandallah house, welcomed the move by solarcity and says solar power will help make the city more resilient in times of extreme events including earthquakes and storms.

“We are New Zealand’s smart energy capital and support a future of clean energy with reduced energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.

Wellington has recently joined the the C40’s international ‘Compact of Mayors’ pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 100 Resilient Cities.

Transpower, which builds, maintains and operates New Zealand’s high voltage electricity transmission network, has also welcomed the solar initiative. Quintin Tahau, Demand Response Programme Manager at Transpower, says the batteries will allow a new model of revenue sharing where consumers can help Transpower manage demand on the grid.

"We are excited that through residential battery technology Wellingtonians have the opportunity to provide electricity into our programme via solarcity, who are participants,” he says.

“Everyday electricity users can be rewarded for managing how and when they use electricity.

“It will also help Transpower, as owner and operator of the national grid, to deliver flexible, cost-effective energy solutions for all New Zealanders.”

The Panasonic battery system allows homeowners to store excess solar energy not used during the day to power their homes at night. It can also provide emergency back-up power to critical devices such as WiFi, phone chargers, and lights giving added security during unpredictable outages and natural disasters.