Solar radiation beneficial
In New Zealand, solar radiation is an abundant energy source. Many homes are exposed annually to 20 - 30 times more energy from the sun than they use in electricity or gas. Solar panels have many benefits, of which the most common is to provide homes with both light and warmth. However, there is significant potential for providing hot water as well. Solar water systems are able to provide reliable hot water in times of electricity shortage and contribute to the lowering of electricity costs. At current electricity prices, you could save between $350 and $450 a year at home by installing a solar water heater and these savings will continue to increase as electricity and gas prices are projected to increase over the coming years. The environmental benefits are also significant. If each household in New Zealand had its own solarwater heater, carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation would be reduced by about 2 million tonnes per year. Using solar water heating more widely throughout New Zealand would also take a huge load off our other energy resources. Solar water heating systems are commonly installed in both new and existing houses, especially when renovating, and are integrated with household electricity and gas supplies. Good house design can also result in significantly less heating costs in winter, through retaining solar energy. Similarly, good design can reduce the need for cooling in summer.