Is solar worth it in New Zealand?
As of March 2021, 31,589 solar power systems have been installed in New Zealand. With solar photovoltaics (PV) becoming more and more popular, it’s a good idea to find out if installing one of these systems on your home or business will be worth the investment.
To help you decide, we have compiled some important factors to consider when purchasing a solar PV installation so that you can make an informed decision.
Sunshine is free and abundant in New Zealand, and who doesn’t like the idea of lower electricity bills plus clean and green energy. However, installing solar PV comes at a cost, and there are several important factors to consider before you invest in solar PV.
Before deciding whether investing in solar is right for you, it is best to know your current usage rates. It is helpful to know how much power your household consumes vs the amount of energy that a solar system in New Zealand can produce. The average New Zealand household uses about 22 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. To generate this amount of energy from sunlight would take 45 square metres of PV panels on your roof, which will usually easily be accommodated given the average residential roof size in New Zealand.
The cost effectiveness of residential solar power is optimised when system owners aim to use more of their solar energy than what they sell back to the grid (also known as the electricity company). By utilising timed appliances, turning off devices when the sun is out, energy management systems, and battery storage, you can avoid using any main grid energy. With no requirements for power outside of their own supply, the system’s cost-effectiveness increases by never paying full retail rates for electricity.
Installation costs are by far the most considerable outlay when determining the long term viability of a solar energy system. The average installation cost can be anywhere between $6,000 to $20,000 for a grid-connected solar PV system installed on any size home or business premises with at least a North-facing roof space.
However, installing a PV system on your home or property can add value to your house up to 1.5 times the value of the cost of installation. For example, according to a recent Westpac study, if you were to spend $10,000 on a system, it might add $15,000 to the value of your house.
It is also worth knowing the power buyback rates that energy companies are willing to pay for any excess power your system has generated.
Electricity suppliers buy back surplus solar energy at a rate of between $0.06-$0.09 per kWh. The current retail price for electricity per kWh is around $0.21, which gives you a rough estimate of how much revenue can be generated from selling electricity to the grid or self-consumed.
How much excess power your system generates varies due to your location, personal usage rate, and installed system size.
So, is solar is worth it?
Yes…but! The equation is more complicated than just how much sunlight hits our roof and what we pay per kilowatt-hour. To fully evaluate your situation, you will need to know how much electricity you use and generate each year. You will also need to know the rates at which these two values change over time, the installation costs of a system and the buyback rate from an energy company. Other important information you will need to be aware of are the different variables specific to your household, such as size, the orientation of panels relative to sun/clouds etc.
With so many variables on each property with respect to its location, aspect, household consumption rates and appetite for investment, the best option is to get a custom quote specifically for your needs and assess that against the factors listed in this article.
You can get a free estimate of what it will cost to install solar panels in your home or business and have them custom-designed to suit the needs of your site. Fill in the contact details on this website for more information.