Marlborough District Council Flicks Switch On Solar Power Scheme – Media Statement

Good news for Marlborough ratepayers! Switching to solar power is now easier thanks to the newly launched initiative by the district Council.

On 15th April 2019, the Marlborough District Council has released a media statement saying ratepayers wanting to go solar can now call on Council for assistance. You can opt to add the installation costs of your solar panels to your rates bill, provided that you use an approved supplier.

The payback scheme involves a targeted rate over nine years, plus an administration fee and a 5.5 per cent standard interest rate (to be reviewed annually).

Eight approved solar panel providers have been identified by the Council through an Expression of Interest process. Council’s Chief Financial Officer Martin Fletcher says all providers are members of the Sustainable Energy Association New Zealand (SEANZ), which assures a high level of quality to their work.

If you’re ready to go solar, you can obtain quotes from the abovementioned providers. When comparing quotes, keep in mind that installation fees will depend on the type, size and number of solar panels you need. Be sure to check the quotes thoroughly to ensure you aren’t comparing apples to oranges.

Once you have obtained a satisfactory quote, you can go to Council to apply for assistance. This is open to all Marlborough ratepayers regardless of their income or assets.

Martin says the scheme is part of the Council’s suite of energy efficiency initiatives – solar being a natural extension given the district’s abundant sunshine hours.

While the prices of solar panels have dropped significantly over the years, the installation costs are still somewhat of a hindrance for some homeowners and businesses. The installation work is one of the major factors that would affect the performance of solar panels. But because many existing homes and buildings were not designed to accommodate solar features, installers often have to set up support brackets and sometimes create out-of-the-box solutions to make sure homeowners reap the highest ROI possible.

Solar is one of the best and most sustainable methods to power homes and businesses. Once you have your solar system installed, it will operate reliably for the next two decades with little or no maintenance. The best part is that solar energy is free, abundant and environment friendly.

With this newly launched initiative, the Council hopes to improve the affordability of clean home heating and power supply. More information about the available energy efficiency funding services can be found here.

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)

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

The Future Is Here With Battery Powered Homes

So what is next for our homes in the future? The answer? Battery powered homes. Many have been making the transition to solar power which is fantastic, the next step in getting away from fossil fuels is in batteries. It is expected that over a million homes in Australia will have a battery powered home in the next five years. We have battery powered cellphones, battery powered cars are taking off so the leap to battery powered houses is the next obvious step, and it is already being taken.


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We are talking about the lithium-ion battery which supplies 24 hour renewable power. Solar panels can only do so much and you still have to rely on the grid however the battery has 8kw hours of usable stored power. The unit is about the size of a beer fridge and holds the battery, an inverter to make it usable for the house and energy management system controls in a little display on the door of the unit. The software tells the unit when to flow and where. The first house using one gets a large 53% of power from the battery, 44% from the solar panels and 3% from the grid.


Lithium-ion is the lightest metal and was first made in the 1980’s but it easily combusted so lithium cobalt oxide was found, this went into electric cars and is what is now entering our homes. Thus giving the option of three scenarios, for those that are sick of power companies and/or want to be off grid altogether they need to buy a big enough battery to survive a cloudy week. Scenario two is living mainly off grid just using it for a backup. The third scenario is using the battery at night to avoid the expensive peak time power prices.


What about cost? Well in early 2015 a 7k battery plus inverter installed would be about $15,000. However already in six months that price has dropped by about a third. Companies are leaping on board seeing the future heading there. For example in Adelaide homes are offered a $5000 rebate if a battery is installed. You see on the grid there is little power stored, the power stations are turned up or down in response to use, but if there is a sudden spike in use power stations have to turn to small stations to help supply the need. So batteries can help the grid running smoothly by the main stations buying power from a battery in homes which is why the big companies are getting on board.


What about apartments or strata housing, how would it work with them? The strata would install them, the tenants would pay strata for electricity and strata would supply it. Whole suburbs can work with this new technology, Alkomoz beach is building and will have enough battery power to power 100 houses for 24 hours. They work on a grid credit system, they make power during the day then buy it back at night with the credits.


Where to from here? Even better batteries are being invented like the zinc bromide battery which has two electrodes, a coin cell and a gel on top instead of liquid. This makes the battery charge faster, it’s bendy and won’t crack and has a longer lifetime that lithium. Builders want to put them into walls to power the home.

Watch this space….

Press Release: Nelson’s Biggest Solar System

Nelson’s biggest solar system up and running

Health @132 on the corner of Collingwood and Hardy Street has had the largest solar photovoltaic system in the region installed. The 200 panel system has a total capacity of 50kWs which will produce 50% of the Medical Centre’s power needs. Most of the power will be used onsite with excess power being sold back to the national grid.
Health @132 Manager Sharon Brinsdon says “We wanted to do something significant for the environment, as well as inspire others to do the same”.
The system was installed by local companies, Solar Electric Technology and Pulse Electrical. Technical Director Lance Double says “businesses generally use the majority of their power during the day when the sun is shining and so solar energy makes a lot of sense. Health @132 is no exception. We fitted a sizable system to dramatically reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint. The solar panels have a 25 year performance warranty; therefore they will end up paying for themselves many times over”.
Despite any formal policies incentivising the up take of solar in New Zealand, solar is proving an attractive option for many households and businesses. The recent move by Vector to partner with Tesla Motors to provide home battery storage in conjunction with solar highlights the growth and potential of solar.
DCIM100MEDIASolar Electric Technology’s Managing Director Frank Witowski says “we’ve continued to see strong sales growth despite the reduction in power buy-back rates by Meridian Energy and Contact Energy late last year. Our approach has been to size systems properly to maximise our customers return on investment. As a result our solar gives great returns on investment while providing clean energy and helping reduce pollution”. We are a long standing local company and happy to meet with new Clients to achieve similar results.


Solar is one of the fastest growing energy sectors in the world with installed capacity expanding rapidly in Europe, North America and the developing world. While it’s still a relatively small player in the New Zealand energy market, many see it as having a bright future because of continued price falls and New Zealand’s relatively high sunshine hours.


Despite Buy-back Drop Solar PV Still Works

Contact Energy and Meridian’s announcement to significantly lower buy-back rates from solar PV this week has caught the headlines and created a bit of storm. While it’s disappointing that power companies keep shifting the goal posts on buy-back rates, thus complicating peoples’ investment decisions, solar still makes a lot of financial sense.

There’s been a bit of hysteria from people exclaiming the reductions equates to some sort of mortal wound to the solar industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While a higher buy-back rate would improve the business case for solar PV, it’s already exceptional without subsidies.

Every week Solar Electric Technology installs systems with returns on investment ranging from 10-20%! Pay back periods are now down to six or seven years, sometimes lower. The most important aspect of making solar PV financially attractive is using the power produced onsite. If this can be achieved the majority of the time, it will work, if it can’t it probably won’t – it’s not rocket science.

There are new technologies such as the NZ made ImmerSUN from Enasolar which work with appliances such as hot water cylinders to make sure they are charging on solar power during the day to minimise the amount of power exported to the grid. Clothes washing, dish washing, and electronic charging can all be done during the day. Solar can be made to work for most households.

Businesses primarily use power during the day and their returns from solar are generally better than for households. Businesses hit the sweet spot of being able to install larger systems, meaning less expensive per unit costs and economies of scale combined with power being consumed onsite during the day.

It would be great if power companies stopped changing their minds every five minutes so better informed market decisions could be made. In the meantime – just cut the power companies out during the day by going solar. Make a sound financial investment and lower your carbon foot print. It’s a win-win.

Interested in how solar cold work for you? Check out our solar PV packages.

The Nelson Mail- Aaryn Barlow says Solar Electric Technology is showing the way, fostering “Green Industries”

Aaryn Barlow is to again contest the Nelson seat for the Green Party in this year's election but will be chasing only the party vote, he said today.

"I'm excited to have been selected to represent the Greens again. New Zealand is at a crossroads environmentally, socially and economically and has the opportunity to elect its first truly progressive government in a generation this year," Barlow said. Local issues included the immediate effects of climate change, Nelson's low "sunshine wages" and the need to foster new "green industries", a field in which Nelson companies like Switch Lighting, Absolute Energy and Solar Electric Technology were showing the way.

Barlow, communications head for the Nelson Environment Centre, said last month his demotion on the party list was "unexpected" but he was committed wherever he ended up on the final list.