Solar installations heat up
The Sustainable Electricity Association (SEANZ) says on and off grid capacity generated by solar technology has surpassed 8,231Kw in the past two years, equivalent to biannual growth of 370 per cent.
Brendan Winitana, chairman of the association says the solar energy sector, currently worth around $40 million a year in New Zealand, is growing fast.
“Revenue is growing at a rate of 100 per cent, and exports are currently 25 per cent of total revenues,” he says. “We are seeing strong enquiry from consumers, and have attracted more installers to the sector.
“The industry is poised for growth. Two key factors are driving it. The first is price. It has never been cheaper to install solar systems and harvest the energy of the sun. The equivalent of 50 solar installations are taking place each month.
“Secondly, it is encouraging to see companies such as Vector helping to promote the uptake of distributed generation solar technology with attractive packages that require little up-front cost from the customer, and completely remove the technology risk.”
SEANZ’s bi-annual survey shows that the majority (77 per cent) of solar generating capacity is on-grid, enabling owners to sell any surplus energy back to the grid.
“The systems start to generate profit in as little as seven years, and with systems usually lasting around 25 years, that’s 18 years of profits,” says Winitana.
Improvements in battery storage is needed for solar systems to go mainstream. Typically, power generated during the day is sold back to the grid.
“Battery innovation will make a tremendous difference to overall load on the grid,” says Winitana.