Solar energy is one of our best ways forward when it comes to getting New Zealand to 100% renewable electricity generation. Currently the burning of coal and oil for our power is contributing further to our carbon emissions. With the 2050 net zero carbon goal set for NZ the sooner we can move away from these sources the better. Many Kiwis are taking matters into their own hands and installing PV solar on their homes to reduce power bills and operate on clean energy. However, there are more ways that we can apply solar energy as a country to reap the greatest rewards!
1. Rooftop Solar
The most common application of solar energy in New Zealand is rooftop PV solar. Many Kiwi’s add panels to their homes, as well as businesses that primarily operate during the daytime, to help reduce costs. Panels are secured to the roofs of these buildings in a configuration that will give them the most exposure to sunlight throughout the day. Often tilts are added to angle the panels for improved efficiency. When it comes to rooftop solar the size of the system is generally relative to the amount of power being used by the home or business. Excess power can be sold to the grid but many choose to add batteries to store excess power for use at night or in an outage. They are usually able to gain more value from this than what they would get back from power companies for supplying to the grid. Across the ditch in Australia 1 in 4 homes have a rooftop solar system installed which is something we are nowhere near here in NZ.
2. Ground Mounts – For Personal Use
The second most common way to set up PV solar is with ground mounts. We often see this in rural settings where there is plenty of space and it allows for users to have power in more remote areas. Sometimes it is used also if there is inadequate roof space or the roof is not strong enough to support panels. Panels are usually placed in rows on tilted brackets that face them north for maximum sun exposure. Large farms often use ground-mounted solar in the areas of their property where they can’t run power in order to operate machinery or pump water to other areas.
3. Ground Mounts – For Solar Farms