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.

SEANZ Energy Award Winners Announced


An off-grid solar and battery installation to support a remote endangered bird hatchery and a factory which replaced 415,000 litres of diesel with 3,608 solar panels are just some of the highlights of the Sustainable Electricity Association’s (SEANZ) annual awards for 2017.

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Record year ahead for solar

panels_from_overhead.jpgBy Joshua Riddiford - Energy News. 

New Zealand is on track for a record number of solar installs by the end of this year, Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand chair Brendan Winitana says.

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New Energy Showcase and Training Day

seanz-fb-tile_training-day2.jpgSEANZ presents the Technology Showcase - A day of workshops featuring the latest in solar, storage, EV, and home energy management technology and our industry expo with leading manufacturers and suppliers bringing you the latest products. SEANZ will also be presenting the latest standards updates with a focus on the latest for battery storage.

This is a free day for all of the industry. Lunch and refreshments supplied - RSVP essential - see below.

This is the first of three days of the SEANZ 2017 Generating Connections Conference. Register for the full event here

What's On?

  • EV’s are set to sweep across the New Zealand landscape and solar installers have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this exciting change. YHI Senior Sales Engineer Aaron Gillon presents.
  • YHI Solar Product Manager Brian Crum speaks about technology developments aimed at increasing efficiency in PV systems plus STORAGE! - the when, the why and the how of battery use in grid-connected solar system’s and how to maximise your customer's solar generation, as well as commercial Hybrid applications and retrofitting storage to an existing system.
  • The way we consume and generate energy is changing and the solar industry needs to look at both hardware and software as a combined value proposition for homes and businesses. Learn about the Enphase Home Energy Solution which seamlessly integrates generation and storage, offering the simplest and most effective solution for your customers. Get an introduction to the next generation Enphase IQ™ Microinverter System which makes installations simpler and faster. Find out how easy it is to get started with Enphase with some nifty install tricks.
  • PowerGenius Founder Ben Stanton and Sales Director Simon Dickson on the technical aspects and capabilities of PowerGenius alongside the customer benefits and how you can leverage both as a point of difference to generate more connections for your business. The functionality and capability of PowerGenius; what and how it monitors, controls and reports energy utilisation within the home. An installation overview, including hardware installation and enabling the technology through software setup. We will also take a look at the future of PowerGenius technology.
  • PowerGenius sales as a service. The customer value proposition; how the customer will benefit from the installation of PowerGenius i.e. the value you will add to their solar investment. As well as covering the best way to utilise PowerGenius as a point of difference for your business to acquire new customers and reconnect with existing customers. He will also take a look at the PowerGenius installer support and customer service model.

Our Industry Expo will have permanent stands featuring the latest from the PV, Storage, EV-charging, and home energy management world brought to you by:

  • YHI
  • Taspac
  • Power Genius
  • Selectronic
  • Independent Power
  • Century Yuasa
  • SolarCity
  • Tesla
  • Fronius

SEANZ welcomes new Government announcements

SEANZ looks forward to working with the new Labour-led Government and new Minister of Energy & Resources Megan Woods. 

megan_woods.jpegClimate Change and Energy appear to have been elevated in the caucus, a move welcomed by SEANZ.

The announcement of a “full-scale review” of retail power pricing could bring welcome outcomes and we will be watching with interest. SEANZ has long advocated that businesses and households with Solar PV need better pricing signals for grid-supplied power to shift their loads from peak times to during the day when the sun is shining. Load shifting using Solar PV and battery storage or EV batteries will ensure network operators are getting the right feedback about requirements for the future network and ensure they make investment decisions which will benefit consumers and the country as a whole. 

As part of the coalition agreement with the Green Party, a Climate Commission will be established and tasked with preparing a plan for the electricity sector to be 100 percent renewable by 2035 (in a year of normal hydrology). SEANZ believes solar pv, battery storage and related tech have a strong role to play in making this goal a reality. 

The announcement that has possibly captured the most public interest is the Green Party policy to investigate putting Solar PV on all schools. Schools are the perfect place to install solar because they consume all of their energy during the day and can, therefore, maximise the financial benefits. 

A solar system installed on a school in New Zealand would be paid back within 7 years after which time the savings made on the electricity bill could be diverted into better learning opportunities for students so SEANZ is urging the Government to think big. 

As a case study, Pegasus Bay School (New Zealand's first net-zero energy school) produces as much energy as it consumes. Pegasus Bay has an 86 kWp system predicted to save the school $28,000/year which based on today's pricing would have the system paying for itself in ~7 years. Another example is Peria School in Northland with an expected payback period of 4 years.

If every school in New Zealand were to install a 25 kwp system then the cost would be ~$150m and this is the scale that the government should be investigating.

Industry Perspectives: A view from New York

SEANZ Chair Brendan Winitana was recently invited to speak on a panel with Rory Christian, Director of New York Clean Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the world’s largest environmental organisations, with more than two million members and a staff of 550 scientists, economists and policy experts; and Dr Stephen Batsone, Director Sapere Research Group.

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Can solar power provide a better return than investing in the share market?

​​​​​​​We have been talking about the positive return on investment for many homeowners for a while now, so much so we built an online tool to help you understand the savings and how to maximise your return, so it is always good when we hear other independent voices sharing the same message.

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solarcity adds a mobile app to award winning offering

SEANZ member solarcity have added an app to their solarzero offering for which they won last year’s SEANZ “Most innovative new initiative” award last year.

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