With the addition of solar on all of our plans, and a massive solar buyback rate on our newest plan - MoveMaster - we thought we'd whip up a little blog about how solar works and what's involved in getting it at your place.

What exactly is solar?

Solar energy is generated by the sun. This energy is captured and turned into usable electricity or used to heat air, water, and other substances.

Solar panels are made of conductive materials. The panels absorb sunlight with photovoltaic cells which create direct current (DC) electricity. Through an inverter the DC energy is then converted to usable alternating current (AC) energy. AC energy flows through the home’s electrical panel and is distributed accordingly. For more details on how solar panels work, check out this video.

Should I use solar?

If you’re considering installing a solar system, an important step is to understand how much money you could save, based on how much you are currently spending on electricity. It’s possible to drastically reduce your power bill with solar.

To figure this out, there are a few steps to run through -

  1. Size up your roof and the aspect the panels will be facing. Size, age and pitch of your roof are important details when considering solar panels.
  2. Shop around for the best solar installation deal and ensure you’re installing the best size system for your property. The largest system might sound appealing but may not be the best economic decision in the long run. We’d recommend checking out the My Solar Quotes site to compare your options in New Zealand.
  3. Look into your electricity options. All our plans are solar friendly, and our MoveMaster plan has the leading solar buyback rate in NZ, but it’s always good to look around.

The installation and setup of a solar system is a large investment, but the payoff can be high. You can also significantly reduce your carbon output with solar. Solar power is a renewable resource and produces zero carbon emissions while in operation.

It’s a huge outlay, is it worth it? How quickly will it pay itself off?

The price of solar panels in New Zealand has decreased significantly in the last five years, making it a much more affordable option for homeowners. Rooftop solar is a smart choice for virtually any Kiwi home with an unshaded roof and some daytime electricity usage. The payback for most solar systems is between three to seven years but that depends on several factors including available sunlight, panel position, electricity prices, the cost of the system and the amount of self-consumption.

Self-consumption is the key to getting the most out of a solar system these days. This means using as much of the energy produced by the panels as possible directly within your home. Self-consuming solar energy helps avoid purchasing energy from the grid.

How reliable is Solar?

This question was prominent at the beginning of the solar revolution, however with modern panels failure rate is extremely low and most reliable manufacturers offer a power output warranty with their systems.

What about when it’s rainy or cloudy, does that mean I don’t have any energy?

Solar panels need unobstructed access to the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, solar panels will still generate electricity on overcast, rainy days – it’s just a little more limited than it would be on sunny days. You can check Solcast.com to see what the typical solar radiation is for New Zealand in your area, just in case you were wondering if it would be a wise decision!

Are solar panels difficult to maintain?

Solar panels are not difficult to maintain as they are designed for the outdoors and made to withstand any type of weather. However, they will need an annual clean to ensure dirt, leaves and animal droppings aren’t obstructing the effectiveness of them.