So­lar power a mod­ern trend

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The price of grid­con­nected so­lar power sys­tems has halved over the past 10 years.

For many home­own­ers, that means that gen­er­at­ing our own power is now very achiev­able.

In fact, small grid-con­nected so­lar in­stal­la­tions in New Zealand have in­creased by at least 330 per cent in the past two years, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port by Green Grid Re­search.

For peo­ple who use lots of power in the day­time, the eco­nomics of go­ing so­lar make sense.

How­ever in my ex­pe­ri­ence, the fi­nan­cial side for work­ing fam­i­lies who are usu­ally out dur­ing the day is of­ten a mi­nor ben­e­fit.

So why is ev­ery­one sud­denly go­ing so­lar?

As with the grow­ing de­mand for lo­cal food, con­nected com­mu­ni­ties and ac­tive trans­port op­tions, many New Zealan­ders want to have more di­rect in­flu­ence over the en­ergy they use.

Ever-ris­ing power prices, and the re­cent par­tial sell-down of gov­ern­ment elec­tric­ity as­sets, have de­creased many peo­ple’s sense of con­trol over their en­ergy costs.

Gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity di­rectly from the sun al­lows us to re­gain con­trol from the big power com­pa­nies.

All good so­lar

sys­tems in­clude sim­ple mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems show­ing the so­lar power gen­er­ated, en­ergy con­sumed, and what’s sold back to the grid. Us­ing the in­for­ma­tion, house­holds can dra­mat­i­cally cut en­ergy costs.

So­lar power can al­low us to re­duce power bills and have a say in the elec­tric­ity mar­ket.

In­vest­ing in so­lar pan­els isn’t the only way. We can vote with our wallets by find­ing ways to re­duce elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion.

If you are con­sid­er­ing so­lar, make sure you get a full en­ergy au­dit of your home be­fore you be­gin. But if you re­ally want to get con­nected to so­lar, now is the best time.

Econ­o­mists say the ex­change rate could drop within the next year – and that can only raise the price of so­lar sys­tems.

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