Most frequent questions and answers

Power plant in the sky, the SUN, showers Earth in ample energy to fulfil world’s power needs many times over. Every hour the sun shines more energy onto the Earth than it needs to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. It doesn’t emit carbon dioxide emissions. It won’t run out. And, it’s free.

Touted as a promising alternative energy source, importantly, renewable energy source, solar panels crown rooftops, commercial buildings, utility ground mounts, roadside signs, etc., and also help keep spacecraft powered.  

Solar panels actually comprise many photovoltaic cells (means they convert sunlight into electricity). Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon — the same material used in microelectronics.  

The power efficiency of a typical crystalline silicon cell is in the 19 to 25% (meaning they convert as much as 25% of the light striking them into electricity). Solar panels typically might be able to afford to put on our rooftop are lower than that – around 16 and 20% with measured losses. The most efficient, like the ones that go on satellites, have power efficiencies approaching 50%, but at costs.

We feel people who are interested in solar are confronted with contradictory and confusing information. Simply put, to make a financial sense, one should effectively use electricity in the day and night hours while there’s a huge gap in the buying and selling prices, a situation that’s fairly common from utilities across the country.

The owner could smartly use all the electricity being generated meaning that sizing of a solar system is important (neither too small nor big system) as per for one’s needs because how long it takes for a system to pay itself off is financially important. Since the manufacturing costs of solar panels prices has been significantly dropping over the recent years the economics for solar systems look more favourable than they were in the past, and affordable for many.

Who doesn’t want to have clean/green energy and lower electricity bills? However, you’ll want to find out if solar panels stack up for you before you can enjoy a solar-powered home. Please contact us for details.

PV arrays can be mounted on rooftops, ground, or another type of structure. Some of the considerations for the array location are: Is the surface area large enough to support the PV array? Is the support structure design strong enough to support the array? Are there times of the day where the solar panel will be shaded? How far will other system components be? Are there wind-load concerns that could affect the PV system? Are there any special installation, safety or maintenance concerns? Answering some of these questions will aid in determining the best possible locations for installing the PV arrays. In this post, we will review several considerations for selecting the best locations based on site conditions and other factors. PV arrays do not have to be installed flat on a surface – they can be installed on tilted racks, solar trackers, or other configurations to help maximize the angle to achieve the ideal sun position.

Information’s should be collected on the PV surface area, local weather conditions, and any other issues that could affect the installation. The site assessment usually includes: How times of day affect the shading on the solar panels; How seasons change the shading on the solar panels; The optimal location of the array; Position of the other components required for the solar system; and, the interface with the existing electrical system.

Large-size solar projects will require more significant detail than small ones.

Before you consider installing solar panels, ask yourself, how old is my roof? If you know that you will need a new roof soon, or that a part of your roof is damaged, it probably isn’t the best idea to install solar panels considering the harsh/varied climate conditions.

The more you can yourself, the less expensive. However, we generally recommend hiring a certified professional to do the wiring and metering. Connecting a solar system to the electrical grid is risky and can lead to serious injuries or claim. Only a certified installer is legally allowed to do so. Further, depending on the complexity of the solar system design, where you live, some regulations and policies may apply. Just in case,
if constructing a house, ask your/our electrician to make your house solar-ready, which is likely to save you money down the track when you go to put a system in.

AS/NZS 5033:2014 Installation and safety requirements for PV arrays. Stand-alone PV systems have specific requirements outlined in AS/NZS 4509.1:2009 Stand-alone power systems – Safety and installation. Battery installations must meet AS4086 Secondary batteries for use with stand-alone power systems.

You’ll also need to talk to the lines company and power retailer if you are planning to connect to the local lines network. If you wish to supply electricity back to the grid and be paid for it, you may need a contract with your local electricity provider. In most cases they will have standard contracts available

We have partnered with SEANZ approved installers who will take care of all the stuffs related to the installation.

New Zealand’s sunshine annual hours varied between 1,400 and 2,600, meaning that it depends on the site location. The amount of electricity generated by a PV system will be highest in areas that receive more sunshine hours. There’s a myth that solar system won’t generate electricity in the cloudy conditions. That’s not correct. Electricity of some amount will still be produced even in cloudy conditions.

For instance, a ~ 3KW sized solar PV system installed on the roof of a house in wellington shall generate 3668 kWh/ year (translates to ~10 units a day) considering reasonable losses at all levels (temperature, inverter, cables etc.,) into account. Depending on the climate, system installation and other variable conditions, the energy output may slightly vary.

A 3kW grid-connected system will currently cost about NZD 7,000 – 9,000 to install, depending on a number of variables. The cost per kW generally reduces with system size increases. Note that bigger system always cheaper as the buy-back rates are not high enough to offset the cost of investing in a much larger system because how the energy is generated, stored and used. One will need to be generating excess energy from solar to your battery system for the storage purpose.

Out estimation shows that about NZD 650 – 700/ year shall be saved when 80% of solar generation would be consumed (so, 20% exported back to grid) by a common residential household using ~10 kWh per day with a 3KW solar-powered installed system. Note that the consumption behaviour was not taken in to considered as it varies between consumers.

Solar panel warranty generally covers for about 25 years, indicating a guaranteed minimum power output over the warranty period of the panel. Industry standards indicate that you should receive a minimum of 80% energy output for the length of time the panels are covered under the warranty. If the warranty offered to you is for less than 25 years, understand that this is considered lower than the industry standard.

Inverter warranty may change within suppliers. With that said, there are a few industry standards that can help you to get a better idea about the warranties that you should be offered. Standard “string inverters”, which handle power from a “string” of panels, often have a warranty period between 5 – 10 years. Generic “micro-inverters”, which attach to individual panels, have warranties that can last 15 – 20 years. Inverter warranties generally cover, material or manufacturing defects and flaws. Inverter warranties generally don’t cover, improper installations, normal wear and tear caused by extreme conditions, and improper maintenance.

Installation warranty covers situations where the solar panels and related equipment were installed incorrectly. These types of warranties can generally last for few years as it varies between installers. Many of these warranties cover such as the labor and parts related to repair or replacing elements of the system, roof penetrations, and more.

All nations of the world depend on fossil fuels for their energy needs. However, the obligation to reduce CO2 and other gaseous emissions in order to be in conformity with the Kyoto and Paris agreements is the reason behind which countries turn to non-polluting renewable energy sources. New Zealand is unusual in that by far the majority of its electricity is sourced via renewable means – 80% currently. This percentage is set to increase to 90% by 2025.

Although the potential for a residential system’s PV to reduce electricity generation-related emissions would be small, bust still worth considering. Solar energy producing electricity with almost zero emissions involved in the process therefore it helps mitigate climate change (some greenhouse gases are emitted during the manufacture and installation of a solar system, but this amount is still at least several times lower than emissions of a standard coal-fuelled power plant).

Energy potential is greatest during the summer when energy usage is at its highest. Many utilities allow solar customers to bank the extra energy they produce in the summer and credit it toward their winter energy bills. This is the concept of net metering.

Solar systems last25- 30 years or more and require little to no maintenance, meaning that even if you sell your home or business, the next owner will become the beneficiary of your investment – you pass on legacy of green/clean energy. Further, by installing solar on your house, you get to set an example for others. Even those who install solar panels primarily for the cost-saving benefits often go on to reduce their carbon footprint in other ways.

It should be also mentioned that like any electrical system, solar system will also require careful disposal at the end of their life.

Generally speaking, solar system is maintenance-free as there are no moving parts during operation, however, small effort is required to have them cleaned from dusts, any foreign particle deposits. Part of maintaining the solar power system is also dealing with lightning storms, hurricanes, hail, and more, which are out of our control at times. While some insurance for a solar system shall be covered during such events, it is something to consider, especially if you live in an area where this type of weather occurs often. Having the right insurance to cover both yourself and any damage to your home during installation is something you shall need to consider.