New Zealand is set to join other progressive nations by embracing solar energy to power homes and businesses. According to nearly 10,000 New Zealanders responding to Pulse Energy’s New Zealand Energy Survey, 43% of respondents indicated they expect to use solar power in the future.
With solar power spreading across Australia, the Pacific Islands and overseas, survey respondents expect energy from the sun to be an important complementary source to the hydro, wind and geothermal renewable resources currently power our country.
“With the cost of solar power dropping to be competitive with day-time energy prices, we expected the interest level to be increasing across the country.” says Pulse Chief Executive Gary Holden. “However, this level of expectation is well above what we might have predicted. New Zealanders seemed to be well informed of the benefits of solar power and are keen to embrace what is arguably the greenest of all energy sources.”
Already, over 2,000 households in New Zealand now use solar energy to power their homes. This figure has increased significantly from only 15 households in 2007. It is believed that the growing trend is a consequence of the falling cost of solar systems while at the same time cost of grid power has risen.
With the advent of smart meters that can measure power usage every hour, setting a price during the day will soon be commonplace. “Day-time energy prices are generally higher than at night because the grid is largely unutilised after hours.” added Gary Holden. “Producing energy during the day will help consumers reduce the more expensive portion of their bill. Energy retailers would be happy to buy back unused power and sell it other customers. It is a real win-win scenario.”
According to solar panel providers, it would cost around $10,000 for solar panels to be installed on a medium sized home. While a significant sum, these panels can last more than 25 years. Given that a well-positioned set of panels can save a household up to $1000 per year, the savings over their life, is good compared to the initial outlay. This is particularly good when you consider that prices are expected to escalate over time.
Countries that have embraced solar power have had remarkable uptake of the technology. According to renewable energy website Cleantechnica, Germany has about 400 MW per million (pm) people, Italy has 280 MW pm and Australia has over 100 MW pm. On this basis, New Zealand could be set to incorporate more than 500 MW of solar production; or enough to supply 1/3 of Auckland on a sunny day.
The Great New Zealand Energy Survey 2014 has been extended until 30 October 2014. To complete the survey visit www.energysurvey.co.nz.
Pulse Energy is New Zealand’s largest independent electricity retailer and winners of the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2012 for being New Zealand’s fastest growing company. Pulse Energy now supplies over 54,000 active customers across New Zealand and is listed on the NZAX.
Marketing Manager – Pulse Energy
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