New Business Models Gain Strength With Renewed Interest in Microgrids

community_solar_garden.jpgMicro-grids will play an important part in the future development of our electricity network. This is an interesting read on the "micro-grid as a service (MaaS)" concept which could open doors for new business modelsOriginally published on Green Tech Media

Increased confidence in the prospect of generating revenue from microgrids, beyond applications related to reliability and resilience, is contributing to the rise of third-party and mixed-ownership models.

With third party and mixed ownership, a new business model emerged: the microgrid-as-a-service (MaaS) or reliability-as-a-service. MaaS can eliminate the historical need for end users to contribute upfront costs on their own, opening up a new market for customers who previously would not have considered a microgrid due to financial barriers.

In 2017, third-party-owned microgrids accounted for 46 percent of new microgrid projects, a notable shift away from majority end-user ownership in previous years. End users still make up a majority of the U.S. microgrid market, owning 83 percent of all operational microgrid projects and 63 percent of capacity. MaaS could be a good option for customers that are more interested in low-cost reliability over potential financial gains from distributed energy resources.

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Electricity Authority Consultation - Multiple trading relationships

powerlines.jpgThe Electricity Authority are exploring the barriers for consumers to access more than one service/use multiple service providers (eg a retailer and a P2P provider or a combo of these) for electricity-related supply at the ICP level. The objective being to help consumers access more cost-effective supply and better services – from retailers, P2P suppliers, neighbours, lines cos......

Innovation and development are needed to improve services to consumers to take advantage of new tech & business models. The regulatory framework needs to accommodate this and the whole thing can only happen if everyone in the space works together.

SEANZ is formulating a submission and all SEANZ members are encouraged to do the same. 

Some of the key points we will be addressing are:

  • ICP smart meters capability and limitations
  • Current industry rules & processes may and can limit how a consumer can benefit from technological developments which enable business model developments that help consumers
  • Allowing providers to access an ICP/consumers demand and supply data

Submissions close 27th Feb 2017 - full consultation paper and submission details are available at



Buyer Beware!


There are suppliers advertising fake products with no little regard for consequences. Please be aware – ALWAYS USE A SEANZ PROFESSIONAL for the supply of technology and equipment and to install your solar PV and or battery system to know you are safe.

You can find a SEANZ Member here. 

Portland Now Generates Electricity From Turbines Installed In City Water Pipes

Lucid electricity generation turbineOriginal article appeared on Good Money by Rafi Schwartz

You’d be forgiven if the phrase “Portland goes green with innovative water pipes” doesn’t immediately call to mind thoughts of civil engineering and hydro-electric power. And yet, that’s exactly what Oregon’s largest city has done by partnering with a company called Lucid Energy to generate clean electricity from the water already flowing under its streets and through its pipes.

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Mercury NZ picks Tesla for ground-breaking battery trial


SEANZ Member Mercury has chosen Tesla to install New Zealand’s first national grid-connected battery. 

Tesla has been confirmed as the battery provider for Mercury’s scalable national grid-connected battery trial,
following a competitive tender process that began in September last year.


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SEANZ Solar Optimiser

The SEANZ Solar Optimiser is a real-world tool using real live information (newest solar technology, efficiency rates and outputs) created to help you understand solar electricity and how you can maximise your savings. Learn about the place of related technology like energy management systems, batteries and electric vehicles.

The Optimiser takes you step-by-step through important questions specific to your household or business. These will help you optimise a system for your requirements and to understand the main factors that impact the savings you can make. 

If you have a recent power bill handy then grab it now before you start - if not then don't worry, we'll add some averages based on where you live.

The Solar Optimiser can be accessed here.

SEANZ Conference Review

mark_p-fb-tile.jpgThe SEANZ Conference held in Hamilton and titled “Generating Connections” did exactly that. Connections and networking from right across the industry with solar & battery suppliers, installers, retailers and lines companies and those from the regulatory space.

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Solar Installed - The Numbers

In NZ as at 31 October there were 16,499 grid-connected solar PV installations delivering 64.14 MW in operation.

A common part of the industry that is never thought about or considered is the off-grid sector. These numbers are being analysed at the moment by SEANZ as are the installed batteries (with and without solar PV) and the grid –assisted ELV part of the industry.



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New Solar PV Report from Transpower

transpower-power_lines.jpgTranspower released research that finds New Zealand’s power system is in a good position to enable a significant increase in renewable electricity generated from solar PV.

In summary “we found that the existing New Zealand power system is an enabler: the core transmission network can accommodate significant solar PV in addition to the existing generation mix and present demand for electricity”. That’s great news thanks, Transpower.

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Trustpower's Solar Buddies

SEANZ Member Trustpower has just launched Solar Buddies, a scheme for Trustpower customers who have Solar Panels to sell or gift surplus power to other consumers who are, or become, Trustpower customers.

The volume of power that can be provided by the panel owner to each buddy is currently capped at 50 kWh per month. But there is no limit on the number of buddies a panel owner may have and a smart meter isn’t required.

Trustpower marketing communications manager Carolyn Schofield told Energy News that the buy-back rates offered by the major retailers have been a bone of contention with many solar customers for a long time. The company wanted a simple way of improving that for customers now, recognising that real-time, peer-to-peer trading will develop longer term.

“As far as we are aware, this service is a first for New Zealand,” she says. “Customers who are buddies appreciate the chance to receive some of their electricity at a reduced price from someone they know with solar. Trustpower simply facilitates the payment at the price the seller agrees with each buddy.”

How it works:

If you've got solar panels, you may sometimes produce more power than you can use. If you don't have storage capacity, your only current option is to sell this surplus power back to your energy retailer at market buyback rates (currently 7c per unit* for Trustpower customers). With Solar Buddies™, instead of selling your extra power to your energy retailer, you can sell it to people you nominate as "buddies" at a rate you agree with them. Your buddies can be on different rates and you can even set a rate of 0c per unit if you’d like to give some of your spare power to someone you know.

As long as you have extra power, your buddies can buy a portion of their power every month at a price that is less than they would pay Trustpower. And you can sell your extra power for more than the 7c per unit you currently receive selling back to Trustpower.

You can allocate your power to your buddies in case you do not have enough extra power for all of them every month.

  • You can set an order of priority so that one buddy always gets their power first, or
  • Each buddy can always get a set percentage of your excess power. For example... Buddy 1 always gets 50%, Buddies 2 and 3 always get 25% each (up to the 50 units per month maximum). 

Trustpower recommends a maximum of five buddies. You will want to check how much spare power you are currently exporting each month as this will indicate how many buddies you are likely to be able to supply with up to the 50 unit per month maximum per buddy.