Different Forms Of Solar Power

Solar power is among the cleanest forms of energy. It’s also a widespread energy source in various countries, including New Zealand. If you’re keen on switching to this power source soon, learning a thing or two about how it works and how you can use it for your home or commercial property is essential. This way, you can find a suitable option and get the most out of your money.

Knowing What Form of Solar Power You Need

Harnessing the energy from the sun and converting it into a usable form is not as complex as it seems. That’s because nowadays, you have access to technologies like thermal solar, photovoltaic solar, and off and on-grid solar. Here’s a closer look at each solar technology.

Thermal Solar

A solar thermal power system collects and focuses sunlight on yielding enough heat and producing steam that later on generates electricity. A typical system used in this setup comprises reflectors and receivers. Other more sophisticated systems include energy storage, allowing you to have enough solar power even during a cloudy day. Essentially the storage accumulates energy from the collector during the peak hours of sunlight until you need to convert them into electricity.

Photovoltaic Solar

Some households in NZ use photovoltaic solar generation systems. Essentially, these work by using solar panels to absorb solar energy. In each panel you install, you have hundreds to thousands of solar cells which generate direct current. Then, using the inverter, the system converts DC into alternating current or AC electricity. The converted energy then either flows into the building to power your appliances or into the grid if it’s more than what you need.

Off and On-grid Solar Power

Besides choosing between how you can utilise solar power, it’s also equally important to decide whether you should opt for an off or on-grid solar system. Your decision can significantly influence several things such as:

  • How much electricity you can access
  • Specialised equipment you need to include in your system
  • Energy billing savings
  • Alternative options when the grid fails to supply enough energy

Be sure to consult with a trusted professional if you’re having a tough time deciding which option will work best for your household or business.

Hours of Sunlight in NZ

In addition to evaluating how you should use solar energy and the type of system to use, it’s also crucial to consider the amount of sunlight in your location. According to the latest numbers from ENZ, here are the average sunlight hours per year in certain parts of New Zealand:

CityAnnual Sunlight Hours
New Plymouth2100


You can use the numbers listed above as your guide when choosing a solar energy system for your house or commercial building. In addition, you should also consider the presence of large buildings in the area that might negatively affect the efficiency of your solar panels or solar thermal receivers.

We also recommend looking at the best spots to position your solar power generation systems so they can get the maximum amount of sunlight every day.

Solar Energy and Money Matters

Even with the rising popularity of solar power in NZ, many still doubt whether it makes a sound investment at all. Is it truly worth the money? The quick answer is: Yes, of course!

When appropriately installed, solar energy systems can help you significantly cut back on your expenses on electricity. If you use your system at total capacity, you can potentially save a thousand dollars a year after the installation. At this rate, you can earn back your investment in about eight to nine years.

Each system comes with varying costs, depending on how much energy you need to generate and the sophistication of the system you need. For solar thermal equipment, you can expect to pay around $5,200.00 + GST to $7,300.00 + GST.

If you want to utilise an off-grid photovoltaic system, the average upfront costs amount to around $7,200.00 Incl. GST to $49,990.00 + GST. Meanwhile, a residential grid-connected system can set you back by around $7,200.00 Incl. GST to $14,500.00 Incl. GST.

To get an accurate cost estimate, we recommend checking our price advisor. This will help you narrow down your options and understand which option might work best for you. You can also request a free quote on your chosen solar power system.

As for your financing options, you can try checking out sustainable energy loans from Kiwibank, a personal loan from companies like Q Card, or a mortgage top-up.

Get Your Solar Energy Generation System Installed Today!

Whether you’re interested in thermal solar power, photovoltaic cells, off-grid systems, or grid-connected systems, our team at Esolar can help you. We have various options to choose from, perfect for any size of household or commercial properties in New Zealand.

Get in touch with us today to check out our offers or inquire more about how you can benefit from solar power here in NZ.