So­lar in­stal­la­tions heat up

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY -

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.

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