Solar power - changing the way we live

A solar power revolution is underway. As governments grapple with policies and targets to tackle climate change, renewable energy, like solar polar, is being embraced around the world. That's because burning fossil fuels to create energy is polluting the air we breathe and making our weather more extreme, whereas solar is safe, reliable and will never run out. With recent advances in solar technology and dropping prices, solar power is now a cleaner and often cheaper option.

Solar power can be generated by large solar plants or from solar panels on your roof. By generating your own power there are few issues or costs with its distribution, unlike the traditional grid system used in countries around the world. For this reason solar power is seen as a disruptive technology, meaning it's changing the status quo, much in the same way as has happened with the internet and mobile phones.

At the moment solar power is a very small part of the New Zealand energy mix but that's changing fast. From October 2013 to March 2015 the number of solar installations across the country jumped from 1630 to 5367 (mostly on houses) - that's a 220 per cent increase in just 18 months.

That growth is not unique to New Zealand. Solar power is taking off in many countries including China (the world's biggest solar market as well as the largest solar panel producer), Japan, India, USA, Germany, France, Italy, UKAustralia and even the oil-rich Middle East.

In 2014 solar had a record year for growth and there are predictions that solar power could be the world's single form of electricity by 2050.