Buying panels and a battery is the old way of switching to solar and can end up costing you more than you save.
That’s also old news. Consumer NZ has been saying solar and batteries aren’t competitive for a while, including this report late last year.
That’s why, five years ago, we designed a revolutionary new way for Kiwis to power their homes with solar so they could help the planet and save money.
Instead of spending thousands on equipment you simply pay a monthly subscription for our solarZero service. It’s like Netflix for your roof, except you stream the sun. solarZero is designed to halve your power bill and we guarantee savings from Year One. It’s proving to be hugely popular and we’re now installing one in every three new solar systems in New Zealand.
A recent report from Transpower, the operator of the national grid, says solar will play an increasing role in our energy future and in our efforts to avoid a climate crisis. It predicts huge growth in the solar industry at a time when the demand for electricity will be increasing significantly as we shift to electric vehicles and decarbonise the economy. In one scenario it says there could be 2.5 million solar homes in New Zealand by 2050.
Transpower acknowledges the economics of solar are changing rapidly, pointing out that its latest report revises information published only seven months ago. Even so, some of it looks outdated already.
The Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) says falling solar and battery costs may already have overtaken the prices that Transpower assumed in some of its modelling. We agree.
The Transpower report says generating electricity using rooftop solar and a small battery comes in at 34 cents per kilowatt hour. In comparison, the average price for grid power in New Zealand is 29.7 c/kWh. However, prices range widely. Balclutha is the most expensive at 41.67 c/kWh while Dunedin is the lowest 25.16 c/kWh.
Our solarZero service delivers a blended price for power from the battery, solar system and grid at an average price of 23.1 c/kWh. This means solarZero is making solar and home batteries cost-effective right across the New Zealand power system.
Battery storage offers a number of benefits. Storing surplus solar power generated during the day enables households to use most, if not all, of the their solar power. In addition, our solarZero battery also reduces the cost of any grid electricity you need by buying and using power at the best rates for you; storing power in the middle of the night when it is cheaper and using that power in your home in the morning when it is more expensive. This is often overlooked when calculating the savings provided by battery storage.
Transpower says a mix of residential and commercial solar is going to be important saying utility solar is already cost competitive with wholesale electricity prices.
“With solar in a range of locations and as part of a diversified suite of generation capacity, solar can create a more robust and reliable generation profile to support the transformation of New Zealand’s energy future and economy.”
Last year we released our own report titled “solarZero. Streaming the Sun. A New Grid for Good”. We calculated that New Zealand could end its dependence on fossil fuel generation by covering an area the size of Rangitoto with solar panels. The Transpower report makes that sound achievable. Let’s make it happen and shift New Zealand to 100% renewable electricity as soon as possible.