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 start to finish, our solar journey with Vital Solar has been superb. We did extensive research and obtained 5 quotes before (easily) deciding on Cam, Maryann and the Vital Solar team. Cam (MD) is highly knowledgeable about all matters solar, and patiently answered all our questions. (Ours is a tricky South facing site, so there were many questions). Maryann was super helpful and kept the ball rolling with logistics and other queries. We decided to get Sun Power panels with Enphase microinverters and two Enphase IQ 5P batteries. Vital Solar’s installation and service team (including Sam and Keenan) was very professional, helpful and tidy. After the installation was complete, Maryann also helped us get the grid connection sorted. Such great people! We did our solar due diligence, and recommend the Vital Solar team very highly. Thank you guys!😊💯
Suki Harding
Suki Harding
For our small installation onto our villa the discussion, ongoing communication, installation, and final product was all excellent. We highly recommend this company
Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson
Vital Solar are awesome. They will listen to what you want, and educate you where necessary so that you can get a system that works best for you and your home. They take pride in their work and do a tidy job with quality equipment. I had a few extra requests such as a Solar hot water power diverter, and that was provided and installed with no hassle. I've asked for more information about extras (e.g. batteries) since the install, and have received friendly advice and follow up. I would recommend them over the big guys who you will either never hear back from, or they will quote something from their computer without even visiting your site.
Ryan Maxwell
Ryan Maxwell
Cannot recommend highly enough. Vital Solar took the time to understand our issues and come back with excellent information- waaayyyyyy more information than the original installer had ever shared. Which meant we could make good decisions. GREAT service, fantastic communication and just lovely individuals to work with. Highly recommended.
sandy pearson
sandy pearson
Cameron and Maryann are engaged and knowledgeable. Dealing directly with the owner is a distinct advantage, and the fact that Cameron visited and assessed the site before quoting was a key point in our choosing Vital Electric.
Alan Merry
Alan Merry
Had vital come through for a consult, and ended up going with an Enphase system, knowledge with the whole process and incredibly happy with total install.They truly went above and beyond my expectations a awesome crew
Andrew Dick
Andrew Dick
Vital Solar really know their stuff. I appreciated the education on solar as part of the sales process. The Vital Solar installation team, in their Vital Solar uniforms, were professional and kept us well informed as the installation progressed. Having a 25 year guarantee backs up the quality of both the product and the service from Vital Solar, giving us peace of mind. It's been worth paying a bit more with Vital Solar than some of the other providers we approached, to get quality. We're delighted with our new system. Did someone say power prices just went up again - not for us. Thanks Vital Solar.
David Schischka
David Schischka
Cam and his team at Vital Solar were recommended through a mutual friend. Definitely made the right choice to go with them for our residential PV install. A pleasure to deal with.
Luke Gowing
Luke Gowing

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