Gareth Williams, solarcity’s Chief Technology Officer, shows how smart technology makes solarZero unique at the solarcity Energy Future event in Wellington

Our vision for a smarter, more sustainable electricity sector

On 19 February 2020, we hosted our first-ever Wellington event, opened by the Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources and attended by policy-makers, regulators and key influencers from the electricity sector.

L-R: Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources with solarcity’s CEO Neil Cowie and Eric Pyle, Director of Public Affairs and Policy at the solarcity Energy Future event in Wellington.

Smarter, Sustainable Solar

solarcity CEO Neil Cowie welcomed guests and gave an overview of the company’s role in helping Kiwis move to a cleaner, cheaper and more sustainable energy source with solar. With our revolutionary solarZero platform, now eighteen months in market, we’re providing NZ with a way to improve the power sector while delivering cost and carbon savings for Kiwi homeowners. 

Gareth Williams, Chief Technology Officer presented an update on what we’ve achieved from the original vision set by our founder Andrew Booth in 2008, through to the most recent 18 months since our groundbreaking solarZero platform was launched into the NZ market. He shared insights from data analysed from our 4,000 customers, showing how this was helping to shape and optimise the future efficiency of the individual solarZero systems, as well as the effect the entire fleet of systems has on the national grid and the resilience they provide during outages. With a strong pipeline of new innovations and technology developments, Gareth gave a glimpse into what’s next for the solarZero platform.  

He showed that Kiwis are becoming increasingly interested in ways they can reduce their carbon footprint, and save money on their power bills. Each solarZero customer is part of our ‘Grid for Good’ community, choosing an alternative solution for powering their homes and vehicles, and increasingly small businesses, and marae communities. solarZero is designed to provide solar for everyone, so whatever their motivation to switch to renewable energy, the barriers that might be preventing them from doing so are removed. 

Eric Pyle, Director of Public Affairs and Policy, discussed how if NZ wants to reach its 100% renewable energy goal by 2035, there also needs to be policy and regulatory support. With the electricity sector being one of the most highly regulated sectors in the economy, and designed for the flow of electricity from power station to home/business, we highlighted how that needs to change to a two-way power system. and solarZero’s role in that change. 

Our founder Andrew Booth chaired a Q&A session, giving guests a chance to ask some well thought out and probing questions, with a lot of interest in developing EV and smart battery integration technology.

To close the evening, our guest speaker, John Hancock, Chair of the Electricity Authority’s Innovation and Participation Advisory Group gave lively and entertaining commentary on NZ’s energy future. His message was that technology in the power system was going to change fast, that solarcity founder Andrew Booth’s early vision to disrupt the solar energy sector was well ahead of its time, and the time is right for those benefits to be realised now. He endorsed comments made by Professor Tony Seba (a renowned speaker on disruption in the energy technology space from the US), that the changes coming to the power system were not decades or even years away, they were arriving now, and that solarcity is very well placed at the forefront of the new technology and that solar uptake is set to soar in NZ.