SEANZ and Kāinga Ora collaboration

Early in 2018 SEANZ Chair Brendan Winitana and his team presented Minister Energy and Resources, Megan Woods and advisers, with a policy rationale and the business case of implementing solar PV across Aotearoa New Zealand governments social housing stock as a mechanism to help those in energy hardship and those experiencing the resulting obvious negative outcomes. This came off the back of work SEANZ had completed with various local councils and their social housing stock.

After more negotiations and discussion, involvement of MBIE and related officials, the gameplan was finalised and a budget of $30 Million allocated for the Social and Māori Housing Solar initiative trial. Two clear outcomes were and are sought - the reduction of energy costs for tenants, while increasing the sustainability of the social houses/homes.

The trial has kicked off with 100 public homes in the Wellington region, followed by Kāinga Ora homes in Hawke’s Bay. Auckland is currently in play with 100 homes being installed with solar. Kāinga Ora plan to have approximately 1,000 homes by 2024 installed with solar. They will monitor the effectiveness of these systems for up to two years to help understand how they can use the technology to support customers to live well in their homes.

The savings that can be achieved will vary from household to household, depending on the specific system installed and the customer’s energy use. Kāinga Ora estimate that savings for those in Wellington would be in the order of $700 to $850 per year.

Following on from this is the Memorandum of Understanding between Ara Ake and Kāinga Ora that enables both parties to collaborate on the energy sharing model where excess energy generated by homes with solar can be shared with other social houses in the area.

The Māori housing initiative is well in play around the country with marae, community group owned housing, kaumatua housing being installed with solar and where necessary development of local infrastructure to support the community, under the programme. Energy sharing in many regions is being implemented using the services of aggregators and energy sharing platform providers.

For both initiatives, although it is not a pre-requisite to be a SEANZ member (systems integrators/installers, suppliers, aggregators, energy sharing providers) to be involved (as in many other government funded initiatives for solar and batteries) being a SEANZ member plays a significant part in being awarded a contract to participate in both programmes.

Watch this space as more is to be developed here.

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