Are solar panels worth installing in New Zealand?

 

The short answer yes, but it depends on what you value. People measure the worth of solar panels against 3 main values, Saving money, environmental and self-sufficiency. We will explore these values below.

Will solar panels save me money?
Electricity prices are continuing to rise in New Zealand. By installing solar panels you can protect yourself against these rising prices. You are essentially locking in your price of electricity for the next 25+ years.

A solar system produces power from the sun. The amount of power it produces depends on how strong the sun is. 

When solar power is being produced it will supply your home appliances requiring electricity.

If the solar power amount is less than what your appliances require, then the rest will be pulled from the grid. If more solar power is being produced than your appliances need, then the excess will be sold to the grid.

This means when you don’t have enough solar power you will buy power from the grid and when you have more than you need, you will sell it to the grid. You buy and sell electricity in units (shown on your power bill as kWh). Each unit costs on average $0.36 inc GST and you can sell it for about $0.10 inc GST. The more solar energy you can use yourself, the better it will be financially. Using solar directly is more valuable than exporting solar.

Let’s look at an example…

System size: 5.5kW(18 panels)
Cost: $15,000 inc GST
The energy produced/Year: 7545 units(kWh)

60% of the energy used directly, valued at $0.36 > 4527x$0.36 = $1,630
40% of the energy is sold to the grid, valued at $0.10 > 3018x$0.10=$302

Total yearly savings of $1,932
The system pays for itself in 7.76 years and will go on producing energy for 25+ years.

The calculation above doesn’t take into account rising electricity prices, as these go up, effectively your system will pay for itself even quicker. Once your system has paid for itself, you will be enjoying the remaining 17 years of free electricity.

Will I be more self-sufficient?

By producing your own electricity you will be much more self-sufficient. The more energy you produce the more self-sufficient you will be. A larger solar system will cover more of your electricity demand meaning that you are more self-sufficient.

If you want to be completely self-sufficient you will need a battery. A battery will Give you backup power in power cuts. The battery will allow your solar system to keep on running, powering your house and charging your battery. The neighbours without solar and batteries will be left in the dark. A battery adds substantial cost to a system but does provide the ultimate solution for self-sufficiency. If you want to be protected against natural disasters, storms and general power cuts, then this could be the way to go for you.

Are solar panels good environmental choice?

We are lucky in New Zealand that a huge proportion of our energy is made up of renewable energy. However, a common misconception is that renewable energy is clean energy. Any energy we generate has a carbon cost.

Geothermal electricity generation provides around 17% of our electricity generation. It is a renewable energy source, but it is not clean energy. Geothermal is responsible for nearly 18% of emissions from electricity generation. When we compare these with fossil fuels, it doesn’t look great.

Percentage of emissions for electricity generation

Geo 17.58%
Coal 21.88%
Gas 60.42%

This means we cannot relax and think New Zealand already has mostly clean energy.

So is it worth installing solar panels in New Zealand? 

We think absolutely yes, solar is the single best way you can help produce clean low carbon electricity and is great for your wallet.

 

If you are interested in installing solar panels then fill out the form below and one of our team will get in touch with you to see how we can help.