solarcity introduces nation's first affordable energy storage service

18 February 2016, Auckland - A smart new energy service, offering affordable solar battery storage for home solar for the first time in New Zealand, is being launched today.

In a price and technology breakthrough, solarcity is combining its solar panels with Panasonic’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries, allowing homeowners to store excess solar energy generated during the day so it can can be used at night and when grid prices are high. The technology even learns your home’s energy profile and can buy power from the grid at times when the rates are low and store it for use at expensive peak times. It can also provide emergency back-up power, giving added security during unpredictable outages and natural disasters.

solarcity CEO Andrew Booth says the company’s new solarZero+ service is an important step to creating the electricity grid of the future and gives homeowners a smart way to beat the rising cost of power.

“This exciting new energy service will allow Kiwis to access solar power and battery storage for a fixed, monthly service fee, rather than buying an expensive system. This means that if you can afford your power bill you can afford solar with solarcity. solarZero+ provides savings, security and certainty.

“This is a real game changer for Kiwi homeowners as this smart solution will optimise their use of solar and minimise the cost of power they buy from the the grid.”

The first system will be installed in a Jennian Homes show home in Auckland later this month. Jennian Homes will pre-wire all its new homes for solar, batteries and electric car charging, to encourage customers to generate their own clean power to lower their energy costs and to protect the environment.

“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 Aidan Jury, COO of Jennian Homes .

“Our nation needs to start thinking about making their roofs more intelligent, and about the cost of running a house per square metre, rather than just the cost of building a house per square metre. An intelligent roof works for you, and your family and we know from US research the solar energy efficient homes have resale prices which are more than old fashioned homes and sell twice as fast.

“Building energy efficient homes, locking in a low price for green power and reducing your reliance on grid power is a powerful combination that is set to change the face of the residential building market in New Zealand.”

Stewart Fowler, CEO of Panasonic, says linking a home storage battery to solar gives homeowners the freedom to choose their energy source and manage their energy use and costs.

“Over the life cycle of our battery, our trials show a significant reduction in reliance on the grid during peak times for Kiwi households.”

Last year solarcity launched its solarZero service which allows homeowners to buy solar power, without the cost of the panels, at a fixed price for 20 years. Now with solarZero+, new solarcity customers can add battery storage for an upfront payment of $2,500 plus a fixed monthly fee that covers all the company’s energy services. Those services include a guaranteed level of solar power, all the benefits of the solar battery, any necessary upgrades (including a full battery change out at the end of its useful life), monitoring, customised energy advice, product discounts on energy efficient products, and more.

“solarcity takes all the technology risks for 20 years while our customers enjoy cleaner, more affordable solar and lower power bills,” says Booth.

The battery system which, unlike other energy storage products doesn’t need to be wall mounted or installed inside the home, includes a back-up mode which can supply limited electricity during power cuts for critical appliances such as a laptop, radio, modem and some lighting.