Element - - Finance -

There’s a term com­ing out of Ja­pan that peo­ple are start­ing to pick up on – en­ergy life­style. That’s what you can do when you free up cash by find­ing ways to pay less each month to your elec­tric­ity or en­ergy re­tailer. Bren­dan Wini­tana from the Sus­tain­able En­ergy As­so­ci­a­tion of New Zealand (SEANZ) says peo­ple are do­ing it, if the steady stream of peo­ple ask­ing their sup­plier how they can feed so­lar power back into the grid is any in­di­ca­tion. “If you add the cost to your mort­gage or use some cap­i­tal to do it, the amount you get from the grid rate is still at­trac­tive – bet­ter than the four per cent you might get on a bank de­posit,” says Wini­tana. Pay­ing grid rates to mi­cro gen­er­a­tors isn’t com­mon, and the price varies. Merid­ian has just ar­bi­trar­ily dropped what it pays – some­thing Wini­tana says may be chal­lenged to the Com­merce Com­mis­sion. “There is a groundswell. Peo­ple want to be­come en­ergy in­de­pen­dent,” he says. Of­fi­cial sup­port for smarter en­ergy came to a screech­ing halt with the elec­tion of the Na­tional-led Gov­ern­ment, and Wini­tana’s not ex­pect­ing change any time soon. In the mean­time the as­so­ci­a­tion con­tin­ues to lobby and ed­u­cate, build­ing the ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity of the in­dus­try around tech­nolo­gies like so­lar. He says there is a huge op­por­tu­nity for build­ing ex­port busi­nesses like in­te­gra­tor Pow­ers­mart so­lar, which is turn­ing Toke­lau into the world’s first 100 per cent so­lar-pow­ered coun­try, or Christchurch firm Ena­So­lar, a sub­sidiary of elec­tron­ics en­tre­pre­neur Den­nis Chap­man’s Ena­tel. Ena­So­lar’s in­vert­ers, which turn the di­rect cur­rent from pho­to­voltaic cells into al­ter­nat­ing cur­rent for use in the home, are be­ing ex­ported to the UK and Aus­tralia, and it is about to ex­pand into Europe and North Amer­ica. “If the do­mes­tic mar­ket here was en­cour­aged, the in­dus­try could grow ex­po­nen­tially,” Wini­tana says. SEANZ is host­ing New Zealand’s first smart en­ergy con­fer­ence in the Welling­ton Town Hall on Novem­ber 24/25. Check out the lat­est in so­lar, wind and mini hy­dro re­new­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies. MedRF.org.RF

Pho­tos: Sup­plied.

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