Solar power and batteries could save New Zealanders billions

New Zealanders could save hundreds of millions of dollars in electricity with solar PV and battery storage, according to a new report.

The Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) report reveals huge electricity cost savings for New Zealanders if conditions for high uptake of solar PV and batteries are allowed to prevail.

Lead author of the report Dr Rob Passey of IT Power Australia said their findings, based on Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) projections, showed the benefits in greenhouse gas emissions and savings to households were positive under all scenarios but improved with greater uptake of PV and batteries.

“By 2040 New Zealand solar households could have saved between $NZ1.35-3.4 billion, but the benefits are not restricted to just solar owners,” Dr Passey said.

“Solar households have already saved the country NZ$860,000 in avoided greenhouse gas emissions.

“MBIE modelling shows that solar installed with batteries will become the norm and that avoided greenhouse gas emissions costs could total NZ$0.5 billion in savings to the country between 2016 and 2040.”

Solar and batteries will not only benefit all households by lowering peak demand and therefore the costs of the electricity network, they can reduce electricity costs through avoided greenhouse gas emissions, lower wholesale electricity costs, reduced line losses, and fuel price hedging.

“The benefits of the benefits for New Zealand were clear, yet the regulator and some of the incumbent electricity industry are actively trying to stall the uptake of solar with misinformation and the introduction of a solar tax,” SEANZ Chairman Brendan Winitana said.

“Households who reduce their electricity use through energy efficiency improvements such as insulation, efficient lighting or low-flow shower heads are not penalised, similarly, if a customer moves to gas they are not levied a ‘gas tax’.

“The focus should now be on how to make the most of the coming opportunities driven by increased customer choice, rather than by selectively penalising specific new technologies.”



According to the report, Solar PV and Batteries in New Zealand – Consumer-centric Electricity, total installed capacity of solar PV in New Zealand has rapidly increased in the last five years, jumping nine-fold in the period 2012 to 2016.

Home solar power made up 78 per cent of capacity installed in 2016, followed by commercial solar.

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