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Solar Electric Specialists: What To Look For Before Committing

From choosing the right solar electric system to determining the correct size of the photovoltaic solar panels and obtaining the necessary permits, going solar is complicated. You need a company that knows their stuff well and cares about your investment as much as you do. A solar electric system is a substantial investment and something that you’ll be living with for a long time.

Finding solar electric specialists is easy, but choosing a good one that meets your needs and expectations is a different story. To thoroughly vet potential solar companies, check if they fit the following criteria:

Licence and insurance

Obviously, the very first thing to check is whether the company has correct and valid licence and is appropriately bonded. In addition, you want to ask straightforward questions about the type of system that they think will suit your property and power consumption. You want to make sure they are going to install a customized solar array configuration that maximizes the amount of sunlight available in your location to save you the most money possible, not a cookie-cutter one.

Realistic quotes

You often get what you pay for. So if you are quoted a price that’s substantially less than most other similar sized systems, the equipment and/or the installation work you’ll receive might be of poor quality.

To check for quality, you can ask the company for similar projects they have done before and ask for client references. Are their clients satisfied with what and how the company delivered for the price they paid? A good company won’t find any problem providing client references, because they are confident about the quality of their work.

Solar panel certification

A certification indicates that the solar panels have met their advertised specifications. This can be done by an independent laboratory or by the company itself. If the solar panels are self-assessed, you can only rely on the company being honest with their claims.

Transparency

Many companies will say what you want to hear in order to get your business. What you need is someone who can and will explain to you all the nitty-gritty of going solar, like how much you can save with a particular system or if your property is appropriate for solar.

Speaking of transparency, here are some important questions to ask potential solar system providers:

  • How does the system work in extreme weather conditions?
  • What are the solar panel efficiency and degradation rates?
  • How long will I recoup my investment?
  • What types of solar power systems do you carry and how do they differ?
  • Which system would you choose for your own property and why?
  • What’s included in your quote?
  • How does your warranty work?

Length of Warranty

Most solar power systems will last around 25 years. So you can expect your solar system to last a long time – typically long enough to pay for itself and give you returns. The industry standard for most installers is five to ten years, but some will offer up to 20-25 years workmanship warranties covering the lifetime of the system.  These extended warranties will add cost to the installation.

Solar systems require minimal maintenance, and very few things can go wrong since there are few moving parts. However, if something does happen, you need that warranty to cover for the maintenance and/or repair costs. But for a warranty to be honoured, the installer must still be operating. That said, you need to ensure that the company will remain in business for as long as your warranty is valid. How? The best way is to choose an established company that has a good track record and reputation because this is the type of company that will stay around for a long time.

Positive reviews

People leave reviews on companies for two reasons: they were disappointed or they were very pleased with the quality of product/service they received. If a company gets a lot of positive reviews from verified customers, you can take that as a good sign.

Of course, there are also those who leave nasty comments just because or use fake accounts to polish the image of the company. So you have to be discerning and intuitive when reading reviews.

If you need reliable solar electric specialists, you’re already in the right place. Ask us any questions and we’ll help you sort the best solar energy solutions for your home or business. Call our NZ-wide hotline 0508 449 274!

New Zealand’s Renewable Energy Resources

New Zealand’s energy production comes from both renewable and non-renewable sources. In 2016, about 85% of electricity generation came from renewable sources, marking the country’s highest production level in 35 years.

Renewable energy comes from sources that replenish naturally in a considerably short period of time. The country’s renewable energy supply particularly comes from geothermal, hydro (24%), biomass (17%), wind and solar power.

Aspiring for a future with a secure and resilient renewable energy supply, the NZ government has put into place research and development initiatives to economically grow its renewables supply. Electricity renewable percentage is trending up since the mid-2000s due to the continual market development, declining costs of renewable technologies and the downgrading of Maui natural gas reserves.

The country has significant advantages in electricity generation, given its vast renewable resources from windswept landscapes to volcanic features and generous sunlight hours. Currently, NZ has the third highest renewables percentage of total primary energy supply (TPES) in the OECD, next to Norway and Iceland.

Below are the types of renewable energy sources that make up the country’s supply:

Geothermal

New Zealand is located strategically between two tectonic plates, meaning it has vast potential for geothermal power generation. The Earth’s crust is thinner along faults, so the hot mantle is much closer to the surface. The heat generated and stored in the ground is what we call geothermal energy, which supplies 17 percent of the country’s electricity and 22 percent of our TPES.

Geothermal fluid, which is a mixture of high pressure water and steam, is piped from deep wells to a central generation power plant where it is turned into steam. The steam is what drives turbine generators to produce electricity. 

Since it’s not weather dependent, geothermal energy supply is consistent and reliable. However, careful monitoring and management of water and pressure levels in the power station are necessary to prevent land subsidence and depletion. This generation method does produce greenhouse gas emissions, but still at a relatively lower amount than the cleanest natural gas plants.

Hydro power

Hydro power generation is the backbone of New Zealand’s electricity system, contributing more than half of our electricity supply.

Hydroelectricity plants rely on gravity to drive water from nearby streams, rivers or dams through turbines, which drive power generators. The process is fast and gives off no greenhouse gases, however there are environmental repercussions to building dams.

The challenge with hydro schemes is New Zealand’s lack of water storage capacity and variable water supplies. Fortunately, the growing wind farms and solar power systems are easing these concerns.

Wind

Wind turbines harness wind power and convert it into electricity. With the country’s vast landscapes, wind-powered generation is a very promising form of electricity generation. It is one of the most environmentally friendly methods as well, given that wind turbines don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions during operation. That being said, wind energy only accounts to two percent of New Zealand’s total renewable energy supply.

Three quarters of Kiwis support wind farms, but there are objections to the sight of them and the noise they create. This has led to stricter building codes for farms as well as noise standards for turbines to ensure quieter operation.

Solar

We use either passive or active solar power systems to harness the sun’s energy. Passive systems use architecture and engineering to design homes to absorb solar radiation for heating spaces. Active systems use photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity as well as solar water heating devices. Solar panels consist of light-sensitive cells that absorb sunlight and irradiance to produce electricity.

Solar electricity is silent, unobtrusive and sustainable. It is the underdog among all of New Zealand’s renewable resources. While it’s totally free and can be used all around the country, it currently amounts to only 2 percent of the total primary renewable supply.

The benefits are definitely there, but there are apprehensions to its uptake primarily due to the high capital cost of solar power systems. Another hindrance to its utilisation is that solar PV is branded as a ‘disruptive technology’ because it challenges the conventional model of electricity provision. However, newer technologies and price reductions in solar PV equipment are making solar power more efficient and affordable to own. And the ever-increasing prices of electricity are pushing more Kiwis to adopt solar as an alternative power generation method.

In fact, there are a number of island resorts that installed their own off-grid solar power plants to cut costs and gain energy independence. On the other hand, householders and property owners prefer grid-tied systems as they need backup power from the grid when the solar panels aren’t generating power at night.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy is fuel made from biomass feedstocks, which are renewable organic materials such as trees, residue wood, crops and by-products like straw, manure, sewage, etc. This type of energy contributed to 7 percent of our TPES in 2015.

Biomass can be burned to provide process heat, which can be used directly or used to generate electricity. Residue wood can be burned to produce heat for domestic use, although this practice is used primarily in the timber industry.

Alternatively, biomass can be turned into liquid biofuels for use in transport. The most common types of biofuels are bioethanol (a type of alcohol fuel processed from waste and organic by-products) and biodiesel (made from animal fats and vegetable oils). Biofuels help make our vehicles cleaner and gentler on the environment.

The current issues with bioenergy are the costs of gathering and transporting biomass feedstocks. Nevertheless, recent innovations are making it easier and cheaper to produce biofuels on a mass scale.

 

Solar Solutions from New Zealand for New Zealand

It’s the best time for a more sustainable home. As you are well aware of, electricity prices are continuously rising each year, while the cost of solar energy systems have been dropping.

Switching to solar today makes real sense. This goes without saying that you need the right solution to meet your specific energy requirements. The good news is you don’t have to go far and wide to search for a reliable solar equipment supplier. The best solar solution or your home or business can be met by Solar Electric Technology Ltd, a home-grown solar specialist.

Solar Electric Technology is 100% Kiwi-owned and operated. We have offices and installers across main centres in New Zealand. Our world-class systems are designed and engineered right here in NZ, and everything is tested locally as well.

What does this mean for you?

This means that the system we will install for your home or business will perform optimally in our local conditions. Optimal performance means maximum power generation and efficiency, which in turn means you’ll get the best return for your investment.

Whether you want to power your home using solar or you want to save on your hot water heating costs, we offer total energy solutions to meet your requirements.

To make your solar upgrade stress free, we do everything for you:

  • System design
  • Installation
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical certification
  • After-sales service

In some cases, a building consent is required for installing PV panels. For example, if you are planning to install PV panels as your roof cladding. You may also need a resource consent if your property is in a special interest or heritage zone or if your roof-mounted panels exceed height-to-boundary restrictions. But don’t worry because we’ll also take care of this on your behalf.

For residential properties, most of the systems we install are grid-connected PV solar systems. While it can generate most of your electricity demand, it allows you to draw power from the grid when your solar generation is not enough. If you generate more than you use, you’ll be able to export your excess power back to the grid and get paid by your utility retailer. The systems we design are scalable so you can add more PV panels over time as your energy demands increase.

On the other hand, some of our clients ask for an off-the-grid solar system which makes them completely independent from the national grid. It costs more than a grid-connected system since it requires a few additional components such as batteries and backup generators. Neverthless, they aren’t affected by power outages or increasing power bills. It’s also an ideal solution if you are located far from the electricity lines, as connecting to the grid becomes a more expensive option.

Solar-powered hot water heaters are also popular among Kiwis. We’ve installed hundreds of advanced technology evacuated tube solar collectors that are ideal for high hot water usage.

If you want to know what the best solar solution for your home or business is, call us on 0508 449 274 for an initial consultation. We will give you a quote for FREE.

 

Average Sunlight in New Zealand

According to Statistics NZ, on average, most of the country received between 1,672 and 2,098 hour of sunshine each year from 1972 to 2016. Based on the 2017 Annual Climate Summary by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the major cities of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington receive more than 2,000 hours of bright sunlight every year, with the most sunshine hours exceeding 2,600 in the wider Nelson region.

January receives a mean over 200 hours of sunshine due to longer more settled days, while June receives a little over 100 hours due to shorter days and wintery weather.

Turning sunshine hours into energy savings

With solar PV technology, you can harness the sun’s free energy and use it to power your home or business, rather than buy power from the grid. More sunshine hours could mean more dollar savings in terms of energy costs.

Solar generation currently makes up 0.2% of the country’s total energy supply. But price reductions in solar PV equipment have seen an increase in demand with homeowners and businesses.

According to this study, if the trend of falling PV prices continues along with rising electricity spot prices, regions such as Nelson-Tasman (with high irradiance) as well as Auckland, Northland and Taranaki (with reasonable irradiance and higher spot prices) stand to benefit the most from solar PV.

 Why go solar?

One could argue that New Zealand is already rich with renewable energy from wind turbines and geothermal plants, so why the need for solar?

Well, solar PV technology is unique among other renewable energy technologies. It has a massive potential to decline in cost and improve in performance at the same time. In fact, the average turnkey price for a standard PV system of 3kW has dropped from NZ$40,000 to NZ$9,000 since 2009.

Buying power from the grid costs you around 26c to 30c per kilowatt hours, depending on your region. On the other hand, generating power with solar costs about 26c to 28c per kWh (relatively less than it costs five years ago), and this number continues to fall.

PV currently costs more in $z/W or c/kWh than other renewable energy sources. However, it remains an attractive alternative because of its modularity, ease and speed of installation and suitability for a wide range of end-use applications and sites.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the potential value of solar is higher than its costs alone would indicate. Although its output is weather dependent on an hourly or daily basis, the power generated is well predictable over longer periods.

Solar PV is a long term investment. It might seem that solar provides little economic benefit at first glance, but the technology actually pays back after 5 to 7 years and continues to save you money for another 15 or 20 years.

To make your investment worthwhile, it makes sense to compare the generation capacity of a solar power system you are considering to the number and intensity of sunshine hours your location receives throughout the year. Our solar experts will be able to help you figure out the potential costs and savings of installing solar for your home or business.

Request for a free quote or call 0508 449 274 today.

Esolar Wins SEANZ Award For Best Small Business In NZ

Solar Electric Technology are pleased to announce that we were awarded the Best Small Business Award at the recent SEANZ annual Energy Awards. The SEANZ annual Energy Awards Conference were held on the 23-25 Nov 2017 at Skycity Hotel in Hamilton and offers awards to businesses in the solar industry for things including service, leading innovation and installation quality. This ceremony is held to showcase the best in solar every year and rewards those who use initiative and find the best solutions for solar power. The dinner and awards were held on Friday evening 24th Nov.

We were awarded Best Small Business Award “For outstanding services to their customers”. CEO Lance Double was there to collect the award. Other awards handed out include:

  • Best Solar PV and/or Storage Grid Connected Implementation
  • Best Solar PV and/or Storage Off-grid Implementation
  • Best Solar PV Community-Based Project
  • Most Innovative New Service
  • Most Innovative New Initiative
  • Industry Person of the Year

From the press release:

“Nelson Solar Company take out top honours

Nelson solar company Solar Electric Technology have taken out the top spot for small
business of the year 2017 from SEANZ (Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand). With solar on the rise in New Zealand the award is a great boost for the Nelson based company.

“We’re really stoked to have won” says Solar Electric MD Lance Double.

“There are a lot of solar companies across the country so to win is acknowledgment of
all the hard work we’ve put in” says Lance.

Solar Electric is responsible for Nelson’s largest solar panel installation at the Lower
Queen Street Medical Centre which has a 200 solar panel array. Having been active
in the Top of the South for a number of years, Solar Electric has also been carrying
out successful installations across the country, such as a 70 unit retirement village
with around 900 solar panels and a new commercial building with 300 panels, both
of which are in Christchurch.

The company has also been active in training solar installers across the country and
helping grow the capacity of the industry nationally. According to Lance “Training
other installers and passing on the knowledge and experience is something we’re
really committed to and we believe by helping others in the industry it ultimately
helps our company”

The company also believes that one of the reasons behind their success is their
commitment to only using high quality, reliable products. “There’s a lot of cheap
products on the market but we only use the best. While we have invested in online
marketing and advertising, at the end of the day you can’t beat word-of-mouth
referrals. By creating happy customers we’ve ensured we have a great reputation in the community” says Lance.”

More information on the SEANZ awards can be found here.

 

 

 

CEO Lance Double accepting SEANZ
award on stage
.

CEO Lance Double (second fronm left) accepting SEANZ award.

All winners of SEANZ solar awards

Solar Electric Technology CEO Lance Double (far right)

4.5kW Grid Tied System Installed In Blenheim

We recently completed the installation of a 4.5kWp grid tie solar system in the Blenheim region. This area is perfect for utilising the benefits of solar, with one of New Zealand’s most sunny climates.

In this system we have used our new all black coloured Jinko solar panels, which match in very nicely with darker roofs and help to absorb the most energy possible. For the inverter we used our Austrian made Fronius string inverter, which we believe to be one of the best inverters in the world. Fronius offer very good performance, as well as some very nice features like web based monitoring of both solar production and household consumption, which is available to you on a phone app. Their 5 year warranty can now also be extended to 20 years.

In addition to the inverter you can see our Elios Power Reducer beside the switchboard, which is used to divert any excess solar energy not being used within the home into the clients hot water cylinder. This reduces the amount of energy exported to the grid, and rather used to save power within the home, thereby increasing the clients return on investment even more so.

Are you interested in a solar system for your home? Talk to us today and let us design and install a system specifically for your home!

Check Out Our New Solar Show Home In Nelson

Are you thinking about getting a solar system installed at your home but are still unsure about how it would work? Maybe you would feel more comfortable if you got to see one in action. Luckily for you, we can do just that!

We are preparing a show home in Nelson where we can show people interested in solar just how our systems work. We have set up the system using the latest Mono Perc all black solar modules on the roof and Austrian made Fronius string inverter, with Italian made hot water solar diversion system. This system is one we would recommend and is the latest in solar technology.

If you would like to come and have a look, please get in touch with us. We will organise an appointment to be able to take you through the home and show you everything you’d like to know. Contact Lance on 027 544 3025

Solar Installation For A Retirement Village In Christchurch

We are currently in the process of installing solar panels on each unit of a new retirement village in Christchurch. The retirement village containts 70 units and each of the 70 units will have a 3kWp solar array connected to an Austrian made Fronius string inverter, with Fronius smart meter to measure energy usage and energy production in the home. Having the ability to measure and monitor where your energy is coming from and going to enables the user to manage their energy in a much better way. 

In addition to the solar system, we are installing an Elios Power Reducer in each unit, which diverts any excess solar energy not used into the client’s hot water cylinder. This ensures that the bulk of the solar energy is consumed on site, rather than being sold to the grid at a reduced rate and maximising the return on investment.

With limited incomes, the solar systems will ensure that the monthly outgoings for energy are minimal for each unit owner. If a unit owner was to purchase an electric vehicle, this could also be charged from the solar energy available during the day, thereby reducing their running costs as well. We expect them to save a substantial amount with these new solar systems.

 

Renewable Energy

In your search for a solar energy solution you will have read about “renewable energy”. Is it a term that you are familiar with? Do you know what it really means? Often, when searching for a new product you will read terms that those in the know will happily bandy about – you can either skip over them and hope that you will understand eventually what they’re talking about or you can dig a little deeper and develop your own understanding.

So what is Renewable Energy?

What is the definition of Renewable?  Renewable means that something is capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles. What about Energy? Energy can have many definitions, but today we will take the definition of “usable power” So, when you come across the term “Renewable Energy” you can understand this to be “usable power that can be replaced naturally”.

What sort of power is this? Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Hydro Electric and Biomass all fall under the renewable energy category. Each source of renewable energy has unique benefits and costs involved but all create much less environmental impact than traditional forms of energy. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions, however geothermal and biomass energy systems do emit some air pollutants – although the total air emissions from geothermal and biomass energy systems are generally much lower than those of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.

Why is it so important to choose to use renewable energy? Well, for centuries humans have been slowly, but surely, depleting the earth’s natural resources. Coal and Natural Gas have long been the world’s major source of energy for use in industry and home. Scientists have discovered though, that the world’s coal veins and gas fields are fast dwindling and on top of having a finite number of years left before there is no more, they both contribute carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions into the atmosphere. These bad emissions trap heat and steadily drive up Earth’s temperature and this in turn creates significant impacts on our health, environment and climate.

What kind of benefits are found with renewable energy? Generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels can offer significant public health benefits. The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer.

Wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs.

Renewable energy can provide economic benefits too. Throughout the world, strong winds, sunny skies, plant residues, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished energy resource supply. These diverse sources of renewable energy have the technical potential to provide all the electricity the nation needs many times over with minimal cost.

While renewable facilities require upfront investments to build, once built they operate at very low cost and, for most technologies, the fuel is free. As a result, renewable energy prices are relatively stable over time.

The costs of renewable energy technologies have declined steadily, and are projected to drop even more. The cost of renewable energy will decline even further as markets mature and companies increasingly take advantage of economies of scale.

Using more renewable energy can lower the prices of and demand for natural gas and coal by increasing competition and diversifying our energy supplies. An increased reliance on renewable energy can help protect consumers when fossil fuel prices spike. 

What are the risks in relying on Renewable Energy? The risk of disruptive events will also increase in the future as droughts, heat waves, more intense storms, and increasingly severe wildfires become more frequent due to global warming. Renewable energy sources are more resilient than coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants in the face of these sorts of extreme weather events.

For example, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power depend on large amounts of water for cooling, and limited water availability during a severe drought or heat wave puts electricity generation at risk. Wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems do not require water to generate electricity, and they can help mitigate risks associated with water scarcity.

Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Modular systems are composed of numerous individual wind turbines or solar arrays. Even if some of the equipment in the system is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.

 

 

 

Solar Installers All Over NZ

If you like “One-Stop” shops, then Esolar is the company for you. Choosing to invest in a solar system for your property can be overwhelming. Having an expert take you through the whole purchase and installation process from the initial quote to you sitting back and enjoying “free” energy can really help you enjoy your decision.

Esolar have been installing solar systems for over 20 years. During this time, our technicians have installed over 1,000 solar power, solar hot water, wind, mini-hydro systems throughout New Zealand and Australia. This experience is appreciated and we have become a trusted name in this industry.

Esolar offer total energy solutions for homes and businesses. We enjoy working with you to ensure your solar system meets your energy needs. We provide system design, installation and after-sales service.

We take pride in our customer service and to this end we have created the easiest quote system we could think of via our website. Simply click on the “Free Quote” tab on the menu across the top of the screen. Each product section has a form that can be filled in and submitted for a quote. There are also system specifications and downloads for obtaining a building consent and drawing the system into the plans.

Once you have clicked on our “Free Quote” tab, select what type of system you are interested in, select what kind of environment it will be installed for – residential, commercial, agricultural (or we’ve even put a handy “I am not sure” option), complete the remaining questions regarding where you would like your solar system installed and your contact details and hit “send”. It is as easy as that.

Unlike some of the smaller solar companies we have offices and installers throughout all of the main centres in New Zealand. No matter where you are in the country there is an Esolar office near to you that can provide you with a full service solar technology solution. When you make an enquiry through our website your enquiry will be redirected to one of our branches in Auckland, Canterbury, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu/Wanganui, Otago, Taranaki, Wairarapa, West Coast, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Southland, Waikato or Wellington.

One of our consultants from our closest office will prepare a quote based on your information and if any further information is required will make contact with you before finalising the quote to make sure all bases have been covered and the best products are quoted for you.
So when you’ve made your decision to invest in solar and want to deal with the best – contact Esolar. We pride ourselves in our communication and professional staff. We work with you and for you to get you the best solar system for your property with the least hassle possible.