Solar energy is a free renewable resource which is essentially transforming sunlight into power for your home. In recent years, it’s become a popular investment for many New Zealanders homeowners, who are installing solar panels on their roofs, managing accordingly to reap all the solar energy advantages.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?
- Solar panels and solar energy are good for the environment
- Solar panels can add capital value to your home
- Once installed, solar panels require little maintenance and are hassle-free
- Solar panels add a curb appeal to your home, making it look modern and clean
- You can save on or eliminate monthly power bills
- You’re less likely to experience blackouts or power cut
- You won’t lose excess power you generate (you can store it in a battery or sell it back to your power company)
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Put simply, solar panels work by absorbing sunlight, or photons, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity – sounds sciencey, but very cool! Solar panels are made of many smaller units called photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. This flow of electricity then flows through an inverter, where it is transformed from DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used to power your home.
Ideally, your solar panel should be facing north, tilted and away from shades in order to capture the maximum amount of sunlight. The solar panels may still work on cloudy days but to a lesser degree.
In New Zealand, there are three types of solar panel systems: off-grid, grid-connected with a power storage system and grid-connected without a power storage system. To avoid having a power shortage on rainy/cloudy days, at night, or when there’s not enough sunlight to generate power, we’d recommend that you still keep your power connected to the grid and use a power storage system to store any excess electricity produced on sunny days. Ask your solar provider for more information on the range of battery storage options they can provide.
You should also check with your power company to see if installing a new solar power system requires any changes to your existing meter. Your power company will often provide credits for any excess power you send back to the grid. This is often referred to as the feed-in tariffs (FiT), also known as the export tariffs or buy-back rates.
What’s the Average Cost of Installing Solar Panels in NZ?
If you’re thinking of getting a solar panel system, don’t forget to weigh up the cost of installing solar panels in NZ against the money you can potentially save on your electricity bills. Back in 2008, solar panels in NZ cost around $40,000, which is outside the budget of an average New Zealander.
However, solar power has become much more feasible for households with a significant price drop. Today, on average, solar panels in NZ cost between $8,000 to $10,000, including installation.
The cost of the system and installation varies depending on a few factors, including:
- The type of solar power system
- The number of solar panels
- Your roof space
- Daylight hours available to capture solar energy (e.g., the direction of your roof)
- The type of roof it is being installed on
- Power requirement of your household
Let your solar panel provider know what you’re hoping to achieve with the solar panel system and discuss your specific requirements. It could be that you want to add property value for selling your house or save on your power bill with an off-grid solar power system. This way, they can recommend the best-suited solar power system and give you a good indication of the price and installation cost.
We highly recommend getting solar installation quotes from more than one solar panel provider and asking them about their warranty policies, the expected lifetime of the solar panel and parts, and any maintenance costs.
Financing Your Solar Power System
Ready to get a solar power system? If you’re ready to improve your home & go eco but don’t have enough savings, Instant Finance's online loans can help. Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer service team to help you build a repayment plan that’s suitable to your needs, helping you save money and electricity right from the start. Now that you've considered solar panels and energy bill savings, it's time to consider DIY home improvement hacks and tips.