Frequently Asked Questions About Solar
- What distinguishes you from other solar companies?
We use German and Australian designed products and tier one double glass panels that have withstood the test of time in many countries and in rigorous conditions (cyclone zones, deserts, temperatures below freezing and high altitudes).
Our installers are not just ordinary handymen but specially trained and experienced PV professionals and fully qualified electricians.
Also we pride ourselves on an exceptionally high level of service. We stay in touch with our clients well after the installation is complete.
We do not invest in television advertising, relying mostly on word of mouth and for this reason our prices are very sharp for the quality of product and service that we offer.
- Why are your panels the best?
There are many different types of panels on the market, but we recommend the type that is built of heat strengthened double glass - Longi Bifacial and Trina Duomax M+. This means our panels are stronger, last longer and have a longer and better warranty than the plastic panels some competitors promote. They are also more suitable for the high winds we get in NZ and have a much greater resistance to fires and earthquakes. Not only do they produce more power, but they look great too.
Bifacial panels have solar cells on both sides and are able to generate additonal power from reflection off the roof.
Our panels are consistently voted in the top 3 in the world by Bloomberg, GloablData and SVTC.
Trina has been producing panels since 1997, and is the largest manufacturer in the world today.
- Do you offer finance?
Yes, there are several ways that you can access finance. You can also get no interest loans from Westpac; and Kiwibank will give you a subsidy. The good news is that monthly solar savings can be structured to be greater than any repayment, with no money down. So you can begin saving straight away. Please give us a call to discuss how both major and minor lenders can assist you with interest free loans and grants.
- I want to wait until the price of solar and batteries comes down.
In the meantime you are paying some of the highest power bills in the world. So lets say you wait 5 years, with an annual bill of $3k per year. So that is $15,000. How much of that $15,000 could you have saved? Half or more? Let's face it, power prices will have gone up even further in that that time, if you had solar you would have got an even greater benefit.
Put it in now because you can start saving now and when the price of batteries comes down you can use the savings to invest in them.
- I am too old.
Old people have investments. The fact is, as an investment solar gives you a much higher return than money in the bank and it is tax free. So why is your money being wasted in the bank getting a low return? If you sell the home or leave it to your family you will have improved its value, given them much lower bills and saved a lot of money on power for yourself in the meantime.
Most old people are on fixed incomes, spend more time at home and feel the cold more.
Solar gives you increased independence. You don't have to worry about heating bills so much and it is gives you a great deal of comfort just to switch on your heat pump during the day whenever you feel like it because you know it is running off solar energy.
- Is this solar hot water?
No, this has nothing to do with liquids sloshing around in tubes on the roof. You are simply producing electricity from sunlight, otherwise known as PV. It is a more modern solution and a lot more useful because if your hot water tank is electrically heated then you will enjoy savings on hot water along with savings on lighting, heating, and refrigeration and any other electrical appliance using solar electricity.
- What about maintenance costs?
This is the beauty of solar. There is virtually nil maintenance because there are no moving parts. That is why the warranty periods are so long. The only maintenance might be in the middle of winter if there is a particularly heavy dump of snow, In which case you hose down the panels or brush them free with a broom on a long stick.
- My power bill is too small.
There is a system to suit all bills. Even if you are only spending $50 per month, you could have a very small system and get a proportional benefit to someone spending $500 per month and utilising a large system.
- Can I extend it in the future?
Generally yes, as long as you have roof space. The inverters can handle a reasonable extension. Or you could choose to have a second system installed of the same size some time in the future. We can also easily retrofit batteries. We discuss these options with you when you arrange a free assessment.
- Will it protect me during blackouts?
Grid tied inverters have a safety feature so if there is a blackout then it switches off with a few seconds. This is to protect lines workers from being electrocuted by energy being sent down the lines by your panels. So you will have to suck it up and join in the suffering along with everyone else. But there are some options to receive some power during power cuts, we can discuss these with you.
- Should I go off grid?
From a financial perspective, then only go off grid if the cost of getting a new grid connection is prohibitive, or you have severe long and regular blackouts. If you already have a grid connection it is much better just to get a grid tied system with minimal maintenance and great return on investment for a much cheaper price. But if you insist we can get you off grid. You will need more panels, solar batteries and an AC coupling or hybrid inverter. Book in one of our technicians to give you a free assessment and explain what these things are. For some people the main reason to go off grid is to increase independence and teach the power companies a lesson. In that case, yes do it.
- Will I be taxed for having a solar system?
A very controversial tax was announced by the lines company in Hawkes Bay recently; it is highly unpopular and is being reviewed by the Energy Minister as anti competitive and discriminatory. Your local lines provider has gone on the record as stating that no such tax is planned here. However even with the tax, residents in Hawkes Bay get a clear financial benefit from using solar. This is because the value of the annual savings from solar are 10-20 times the value of the tax. The fact that the lines company would do such a thing proves that solar works better than most people realise.
- I am interested, but I want to wait until I have bought double glazing/ new garage/ underfloor heating etc.
None of these things will produce a return anything as good as solar power. In fact, most won't save you any money at all, they are just costs, not investments. So for that reason solar should be a priority. The savings you get from solar can be used to fund further improvements to your home.
- I really just want solar hot water.
This does the same thing, only better. Because it has a higher rate of return, next to zero maintenance and multiple uses. So you will have major savings on hot water and more.
- What if the tariffs drop?
The tariffs are no more than a little bit of icing on the cake.The bulk of the power you use yourself or store yourself in the form of hot water etc. If there was zero tariffs you would still get a healthy benefit.
- Can I wire the panels directly to my hot water tank/ specific plugs or heaters?
Probably, but it is pointless. All electrical appliances in your home cost something to run and the solar system can power all electrical appliances. So we just feed the power into the back of your switchboard and you can use it for anything.
- I am out of the house during the day so would I get much benefit?
There are a few things to consider here. Firstly, it is still light at 10.30pm in summer in this part of the world, so the panels will still be working well after business hours when most people are home. The panels will also be working in the morning, from sun up. Also, your hot water tank could be up to 40% of your bill. The solar system will work all day for you heating your water whether you are in the house or not.
Part of the reason we meet with you is to understand when and how you use your power, and then recommend a suitable system along with other tips on how you can improve your power use.
Consider heating the house partially during the day using a heat pump or night store run in reverse on a low setting. You will probably still need a bit of heating at night, but not as much if the house has already been brought up to a comfortable temperature. We do supply both heat pumps and night stores. You don't necessarilyneed batteries because you already have many forms of energy storage that work during the day. Also, there will be a constant draw during day time that solar will take care of even if you are not home.
So yes, you will get a good benefit.
- How does this help protect our environment?
Solar is reliable, renewable and clean. There is more than enough to meet the needs of a growing economy.
- How much have power prices been going up?
- A lot. Check the power companies price rises here: Ministry of Business and Innovation
- How does this save me money?
We are yet to discover a home improvement that gives you a higher return on your investment.
The more power prices go up, the greater the financial benefit from solar.
Your savings will more than pay for any borrowing costs.
If you don't need to borrow then the savings are many times over what the bank will pay in interest.
The savings are tax free!
What will you do with the extra money in your pocket every month?
- Is solar power worth it in NZ?
Absolutely yes. If you have a look at average sun hours in various parts of the country (about 4) and then work out annual solar production multiplied by the rate you pay per kwh , it is much cheaper than grid power with a rate of return better than many investments. Contact us and we will show you how much your savings will be.
- How much does solar cost? There are many different sizes and types of solar systems. Panel quality and warranties vary immensely and there are various types of inverters suitable for different applications. Every site is different and it really needs a thorough assessment to answer this question.