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Why don’t we have more rooftop solar panels in Wellington?

June 1, 2013

Walking around the streets of Ipswich, or indeed anywhere in Queensland, and I’m struck by the number of houses with solar panels (photovoltaics or PVs). Just in case there is confusion, these are for generating electricity not for heating water. Part of the reason for their popularity here is that the Australian government offered (I’m not sure whether they have changed this now) a hefty subsidy for installing them, plus guarenteed buy back arrangements if you generated more power than you could use, your extra power being fed back into the grid.

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Presumably it made sense at the time, perhaps to support and grow a fledgling industry and because Queensland with its hot climate has cooling and irrigation loads, which fit well with photovoltaic output.

Currently our NZ government is opposed to any interference in the electricity market via subsidies, so we won’t be seeing big roll-outs of PVs just yet. But as  prices have steadily come down, more NZ homeowners and businesses are having them installed. Meridian energy offers a buy back rate of 25 cents per KWhr for the first 5 KWhr, dropping to 15 cents after that. There was some talk of Kiwibank offering a $2000 loan to help with the install, but I’m not sure of the exact details)….maybe some of you can fill me in!

Personally, I think PVs do have a great future in NZ, and I’d love to hear from anyone who has had experience with installing an array at their home or business……I’m sure this is a topic we will hear more of in the future!

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From → Healthy Housing

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