Solar power in New Zealand
Solar power in New Zealand currently only contributes 0.1 percent to the country's overall electricity consumption. Around 73 percent of New Zealand’s electricity demand is supplied by renewable energy sources, including hydropower (60%), geothermal power (10%), and wind power (3%), while tidal, wave and solar power are yet to be developed. The remaining 27 percent of the national electricity demand is generated from non-renewable sources such as gas and coal. The governmental goal is to achieve 90 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2025.
Although there are no subsidies, the declining costs of photovoltaics has caused a large increase in demand over the last few years. In 2009, the average turnkey price for a standard PV system of three kilowatts (kW) was about NZ$40,000, and has since dropped by 75 percent to NZ$10,000 (US$7,800 or US$2.60/W).
As of January 2014, solar photovoltaic systems have been installed in 50 schools through the Schoolgen program, a program developed by Genesis Energy to educate students about renewable energy, particularly solar energy. Each school has been given a 2 kW capacity PV system, with a total distributed installed capacity of 100 kilowatts-peak (kWp). Since February 2007, a total of 513 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electrical energy have been recorded.
As of December 2013, New Zealand's largest solar power plant was the 99 kWp array installed at the Yealand Estate winery in Blenheim. A 100 kW system is planned for the Palmerston North City Council.
A 2012 study claimed that photovoltaics are already cheaper than grid power for small systems in all of New Zealand.
Meridian Energy offered net metering as early as 2008, but since 2013 only offers this on the first 5 kWh exported to the grid, remaining exports are credited at a lower rate. If net metering is not offered, the largest system that becomes economical is one that generates no more than is directly consumed. For a homeowner that leaves during the day and does not consume hardly any energy until later in the day, net metering is essential. For a larger system, sized to provide all of the electricity used during the year, net metering needs to be available continuously, so that excess generated during the summer can be consumed in the winter. Net metering best practices recommend no limit, either individual or aggregate, and allowing perpetual roll over of kilowatt credits. Since electric meters normally accurately record in both directions, net metering is an accounting procedure, and not something that requires notification or signing up for in advance. It is, however, something that power companies need to anticipate and accommodate.
- "Green energy - Answers to questions about renewable and non-renewable energy sources.". http://www.powerswitch.org.nz. PowerSwitch, Consumer NZ. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01.
- "The price of a solar power system". http://www.mysolarquotes.co.nz/. My Solar Quotes. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01.
- "Schoolgen". Genesis Energy.
- Porter, David (15 January 2014). "PowerSmart tackles big solar double".
- "Grid Supply and Solar PV Electricity Rates" (PDF). SEANZ. 30 May 2012.
- "Net Metering". DSIRESOLAR.
- "PV Watts". NREL. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority - Solar Energy
- Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand
- The price of a solar power system