Urgent need for mandates around home based renewable energy

Nov 28, 2022

A New Zealand solar energy installer is warning that electrifying New Zealand—EV vehicles, trains and digital technologies—while building thousands of new homes that cannot generate their own renewable energy is foolhardy in light of Transpower’s warnings about strain on the national power grid.

The director of Vital Solar, a leading Auckland solar energy specialist, Cameron Dick, said that even if new buildings were provisioning for renewable energy, there are not enough trained installers to meet even existing demand.

“Even during the wettest winter months, Transpower urged Kiwis to ease up on electricity consumption. At the same time, there is a push to electrify half of the country’s vehicle fleet within the next eight years–yet current Homestar energy ratings do not even mention renewable energy.”

More sustainable electricity generation will also be critical if New Zealand is to reach its 2030 zero carbon goals. To achieve this, 100 percent of imported cars would need to be electric or hybrid by that date – which would be a considerable jump from the total of 3 per cent imported in 2019.

“New Zealand needs a better framework for training local solar installers, a mandatory source of ethically manufactured solar energy products, better education of the public and renewable energy should be a standard requirement for new structures, particularly homes.”

The United Kingdom is in the process of mandating that every home new home has provision for an electric vehicle and solar energy infrastructure, and New Zealand urgently needs to follow their example.

He had the following advice for homeowners considering placing solar panels on their houses:

1. Check the warranty

Not all solar panels are created equal. And that goes for the warranties as well. In general, there are two types of warranties, Dick said.

“The first type is a product warranty, and the second is a performance warranty (manufacturers state what the performance will be over a certain time period)—about 90 per cent output for up to 10 years and 80 per cent output for up to 25 years. The third is a labour or service guarantee, meaning the manufacturer or installer will replace or repair the panel if a defect occurs (not all manufacturers offer this).

“Solar panels are fragile things, so getting a warranty is crucial,” Dick said.

2. Do your research

The sheer number of solar panel products on the market expands yearly, so it is worth shopping around for panels that best fit a home’s design and build. But Dick advised performing due diligence on the choice of installers to avoid the “cowboys.”

“Research an installer’s track record, reviews, how long they have been in business, their training programme and the ethos of the company. A positive sign is if they belong to a group like SEANZ (Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand),” Dick said.

3. Understand your needs

Powering an entire house or capturing and storing a bit of energy for charging digital devices in the evening are two very different motivations for installing solar panels. Do you want an off-grid system or one that is tied into the grid). It is essential to know what system will supply adequate power for a household without underserving or overserving.

“Calculate the energy consumption of your house over the last six to 12 months. This will help decide if you need a 3- or 8-kilowatt panel, potentially saving thousands of dollars annually,” Dick said.

If enough homes are also equipped with solar panels, the amount of energy that could be generated will lighten the load on the grid.
Yet to get there, New Zealand needs a better framework to train solar installers. Increasing the effort to educate homeowners about the available options for home solar electricity systems is also essential.

He said while people are incentivised to build energy-efficient homes to lower their power costs, there need to be more trained solar installers to meet the rising demand for panels.

Our guarantee

With extensive experience and certification by New Zealand Master Electricians, we are the trusted solar energy systems provider for Kiwi homes and businesses. With the highest level of compliance available in solar installation, we only work with products covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and we guarantee all our workmanship.

Our commitment

Vital Solar is a proud member of SEANZ, the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand.

SEANZ is an independent organisation that works hard to drive our sustainable energy future, leading the promotion, support and innovation of solar PV and energy storage technologies.

Because we’re members of SEANZ, we work to a strict SEANZ Code of Conduct. It also means you can apply for financing from your bank for solar energy systems from Vital Solar.

From the start, Maryann was extremely helpful and communicative! Cam was very knowledgeable and explained how everything worked. We had a great experience with Vital Solar and would recommend them to anyone!
Carly & Hannah Van Winkel
Carly & Hannah Van Winkel
After researching the market thoroughly, I settled on Vital to install our home PV system in 2022 and they did a very neat and professional job. Good assistance in working with the local lines company and excellent support in bedding in the control and monitoring systems. They know their stuff.
Grant Forsyth
Grant Forsyth
I've had the Enphase System now for a little over a year and I am just sorry I didn't get it installed sooner. We got 20 panels installed and glad we did that to make the most of whatever energy we are able to capture and use. Although I haven't changed the way in which I use electricity in the home, I have been able to see where I can maximize the solar energy and use it when I can although any extra is fed back to the grid (albeit at a piddly rate). Installation was seamless and the after sales service and support to change electricity service providers and respond to questions is second to none. Great service provided by the team at Vital Solar!!!
We heard about Vital Solar from a friend (a crusty old engineer who knows about stuff!) and he recommended them. We’re chuffed with the small system they did for us. Excellent service, convincing products and serious after sales service. Good work Cam and team! Many thanks.
neil keating
neil keating
We selected Vital Solar for our PV solar install because Cam was the only one to come to our place to view the site and wiring prior to quoting, which gave us confidence in their approach. The Enphase system was also recommended to me by a longstanding friend who is an electrician and Enphase also undertake some of their R&D in Christchurch with students from the University of Canterbury. On the whole, we were really impressed with Maryann, Cam and the team from Vital Solar and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in installing solar to their property.
Craig Campbell
Craig Campbell
Very happy with the service we got from Vital Solar. Even though they are not the original installer of our pannels, they were happy to replace a failed Micro Inverter, and provided extended afterservice when problems had to be resolved. I would highly recommend using their services
Chris Gelderman
Chris Gelderman
These guys supply a superior product and were the only ones to come and see us to have a look. They are very personable and kept us fully informed throughout the entire process. They personally install the panels and set up the power. Cam was great to deal with on site and Maryann was prompt with keeping us up to date and organising the inspector and power company. I was impressed in the way they left everything tidy and clean. We are very happy with our drop in power bills. They also have great after sales service. Would thoroughly reccomend Vital Solar.
Gary Lane
Gary Lane
Can't recommend this team more. We were nightmare customers (not they they would every tell us) with more questions than you can imagine and they were patient, accommodative and nothing was ever an issue. Even after the installation they are still there to help whenever we need. Truely the best.
Mark Collins
Mark Collins
We were virtually clueless when we started exploring Solar . Contacted a few companies including Vital Solar . We were so impressed from the outset with Maryanne responding to our myriad questions quickly & patiently . We decided to accept Cam & Maryanne’s offer to do a site visit to fully understand our requirements before quoting ( they were the only company to do this ) On receipt of the detailed quote there were still further questions from us . Never once were we fobbed off or made to feel stupid . We accepted the quote & the installation was pretty seamless after that . On go live , Cam & Maryanne did a detailed handover . Nothing has been too much trouble , their whole team have been friendly & professional . Cannot recommend Vital Solar highly enough - we are very pleased with the decision to go with them !
Excellent workmanship and what a fantastic crew. Thanks to the entire crew for making it so easy to get solar panels installed. Would highly recommend going with them.
Jayakantha Vijayakumar
Jayakantha Vijayakumar

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