City of the sun
Christchurch is forging ahead down the path of becoming an eco city with the announcement of a subdivision of some 2200 homes fitted with solar technologies. It will not be entirely off-grid, as the power generated from photo voltaic (PV) panels will supply approximately a quarter of the average home’s power. However hot water solar panels will also be fitted, which should further decrease energy use. Any energy produced that is not used by the home owners, for example when they are away, will be sold to Meridian Energy, which is part of the deal along with Panasonic and Nelson-based solar power company Solarcity, which will install the systems. The cost of PV panels has dropped 40 per cent in the past year and is attracting a lot of attention as a financially viable source of power. The panels last approximately 30 years. Each house would be fitted with four or more panels, capable of generating a kilowatt. Solarcity went through a private equity financing round last year, led by Sir Stephen Tindall’s investment fun K1W1. The company raised 2 million. This contract could see the business double in size.