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  1. Post
    #1

    SolarZero

    Hi Guys,

    Have any of you had solar/recharge battery installed at home? We are looking at options to reduce power cost. We've had a quote from SolarZero - they provide panels + battery and free installation + maintenance. We pay a monthly subscription fee and will need lock into a 20 years contract. These are what we will be getting:

    295 W panel
    Fully integrated 3.6KW battery hybrid inverter
    Amazon Alexa Dot

    We need to pay $147+GST ($169.05 incl gst) monthly subscription.

    We are expected to save about $210 in power bill in the first year and at the end of 20 years we would have saved about $19K in total. The rationale is that we pay fix subscription fee and that the power price will increase every year - they uses the increase rate of 3.5%.

    I'm not convinced of their advised saving. And I think the battery will degrade over time so the charging capacity will reduce as the year goes on. Anyway our power bill is huge ($500/$600 per month in winter, $400/$500 in Autumn/Spring, $200/$300 in summer) so it is worth looking into further.

  2. Post
    #2
    Does the contract transfer to the next owner of the house if you move out?

    They electricity price increase estimate can never be accurate - there are far too many variables in place.
    I would rather suggest you look at a range of outcomes - like what happens if it’s just 1% increase or 0%.

    For example if you are in Auckland and not locked into a fixed price contract then you should see your prices drop each year for the next 2 to 3 years or remain flat.

  3. Post
    #3
    1, Power prices are on their way down.

    2, Are you prepared for having to pay the lease out on the solar gear if you need to move house? There is a hell of a lot of risk with the solar as a service that they offer. If there is any chance that you will move in the next 20 years then you may need to find a lot of cash fast to pay the lease out, as the other alternative is to move the gear with you (you have to pay to reinstall it) or get the new owner to sign over the lease.

    Their terms were too strict for me, and a better option would be to finance a solution on the mortgage and own it after it is paid off.

    Please note that this company was apparently started by an ex-Greenpeace manager, that was more than enough to put me off, they are fairly liberal with the truth.

  4. Post
    #4
    dickytim wrote:
    1, Power prices are on their way down.
    I'm not so sure on that. Not unless the government starts to intervene.
    Gas makes up 20% of our generation. Due to the ban on further exploration, no new gas fields are coming online, and the ones that we have now are running out. Generators had to turn on a shit ton of diesel and coal generation recently when one of the gas fields went offline.
    With no new big power stations scheduled to be built, supply is only going to flatline while demand will keep growing and growing.

    So for the mid term future, expect prices to rise.

  5. Post
    #5
    maybe look into why your power consumption is so significant, consider installing an infinity system (even on bottles if you don’t have mains gas) for hot water. Also sounds like you’re running inefficient electric heating.

  6. Post
    #6
    Received some more info from SolarCity:
    1. If we sell the house, SolarCity will try to convince the new owner to take over the lease. If that fails, they can move the equipment to our new house at no cost but our contract will reset to year 0.
    2. In the event that we cannot move the equipment with us, then we need to prepaid the remaining lease at a discounted rate.
    3. Any excess power we consume above what the system generates, we pay wholesale rates. The average whole sale rate per unit is 11.50 cents and we also pay half the price of the current daily fixed charge of $1.01 instead of $2.03, we are currently paying. We can recharge the battery at a time when the power is least expensive (off peak) at around 3 am.
    4. Anyway, excess electricity we generate can be exported back to the grid and we get paid for around 9 cents per unit.

    So far so good. I just need to talk to someone who has SolarZero system installed to get their opinion.

  7. Post
    #7
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-...lly-save-money

    Honestly man, you’re opening up an absolute can of worms here

  8. Post
    #8
    knack wrote:
    I'm not convinced of their advised saving. And I think the battery will degrade over time so the charging capacity will reduce as the year goes on. Anyway our power bill is huge ($500/$600 per month in winter, $400/$500 in Autumn/Spring, $200/$300 in summer) so it is worth looking into further.
    It may be impossible but you'll probably save more money reducing power than generating. I drive an electric car and have a fire in the lounge and our bill is $120/month all year.

    First big saving is replacing all lights with LEDs (can pick them up for a couple bucks), then insulation, then heating if it's possible.

    Failing any of those, a 3KW solar install runs around 10K these days. If you could knock a hundred bucks off your power/month (sounds like a low reduction for your bill) then you'd be better off than signing up with them. Then you're in the green in 10 years, and 12k ahead at current prices in 20.

    If you projected out their $210 saving over 20 years it's actually only 4k savings at current prices. So using their dodgy maths (x4?) you'll probably have saved a relative 48k after 20 years.

    Quickly running the maths, though, I don't see how you could ever save money at $170/month.

    At 16c/KWH, that's 1000KWh. Over 30 days that's 35KWh of generation per day. A 3KW system would need 12 hours of perfect sunlight everyday to achieve that, with it all being consumed.

    Just wait and get solar when/if power prices go up (it gets better and cheaper every year), and in the meantime work out where all your power is going and stop it.

  9. Post
    #9
    Avoid like the plague. Spend your money on a normal solar hot water installation if you can. payback is 5 years. Solar payback is 12-15 on average.

    My powerbill is less than their monthly fee as it is.

  10. Post
    #10
    Jewjew wrote:
    I'm not so sure on that. Not unless the government starts to intervene.
    Gas makes up 20% of our generation. Due to the ban on further exploration, no new gas fields are coming online, and the ones that we have now are running out. Generators had to turn on a shit ton of diesel and coal generation recently when one of the gas fields went offline.
    With no new big power stations scheduled to be built, supply is only going to flatline while demand will keep growing and growing.

    So for the mid term future, expect prices to rise.
    The lines companies have been pulled back into live by the COMCOM, expect to see lower prices coming.

  11. Post
    #11
    This is a great thread. Thank you.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. Post
    #12
    dickytim wrote:
    The lines companies have been pulled back into live by the COMCOM, expect to see lower prices coming.
    He means energy prices - more pain for Flick customers

    It’s likely Lines Company prices will go going down for most people in the next 2 years, some very significantly but Energy prices will go up as Demand keeps growing but supply is flat or falling

  13. Post
    #13
    I bought solar panels through Harrisons Energy 4 years ago. Bought on finance as they had a no interest for 4 years type thing going. Technically paid them off awhile ago, but along the way, we bought an ipad and a laptop so got 1600 to clear the balance on the card. Anyway, what we got was a 2KW system. I don't have any regrets, yes systems are better now. Looks like you can get a higher generating system for the same, if not less money, but hey, thats life. Only takes a year before x generation of y product is superseded by something cheaper and better. I own my home, and I didn't want to wait forever, so I just went for it, seeing as I knew I could pay it off within 4 years.

    I'm hoping to add battery storage in the future, and hopefully, at least another 1KW of panels to generate more power. That can wait for now. Will likely have to change the inverter, but hopefully the existing panels can integrate with whatever,

  14. Post
    #14
    ^^^^ This, if you want Solar buy it, there are a lot of interest free deals, of if you have the capital add it the mortgage (separate account so you are not paying it over 30 years)

    I did the sums and SolarCity are not doing you any favours in the long run, and having something that is ripped off your roof after 20 years is balls.

    You do need to understand that the pay back on going solar is a long term one, usually over 10 years (but always getting better)

    After getting central heating put in (payback time 2 years) we are going to look at solar, so probably about 4 years away before we can pay cash for it, hopefully by that time the government will front up like they did over a decade ago in Aussie and offer incentives to go solar.

  15. Post
    #15
    Solar hot water has better payback

  16. Post
    #16
    20 years? Jesus! Anything could happen in that time.

  17. Post
    #17
    Yeah that's why solar is only worth doing in a few situations. Like using all power you create yourself, during the day. Other countries have it a lot better, where the buy back rate is actually decent. Was going to throw some panels on my current place, but it didn't add up.

  18. Post
    #18
    Fragluton wrote:
    Yeah that's why solar is only worth doing in a few situations. Like using all power you create yourself, during the day. Other countries have it a lot better, where the buy back rate is actually decent. Was going to throw some panels on my current place, but it didn't add up.
    The buy back rate in NZ is the sell rate (for SolarZero anyway), less the lines component, that makes it not worth feeding back to the grid, which means needing a battery.

  19. Post
    #19
    295w worth of panels is nothing. You'll find it wont keep up with your demand and;
    1. You'll never export power back to the grid.
    2. It wont keep up with your demands and you'll be buying most of your power from the grid.

    If you had something like 3kW worth of panels or so it would be much better.

    Most people have more than 295w worth of panels on their boat or camper van

  20. Post
    #20
    tbh I'm assuming he had a typo and probably meant 2.95KW or something like that. Otherwise, yea waste of time and money. Pretty sure the last add I saw for Harrisons Energy was at least 4KW for $8000. Made me die a bit inside :/
    Last edited by B|ind-Reaper*; 9th July 2019 at 8:43 pm.

  21. Post
    #21
    Solar is a good idea but if you want to do it please don't go to these larger companies they will rip you off get a total.

    2 years ago when I was in the industry we did a 1.5kw system for 3999 installed. You can install a diverter with a simple grid tied system and divert all extra power to the hot water cylinder if you have one. We got payback under 10 years easily

  22. Post
    #22
    orac12 wrote:
    1. You'll never export power back to the grid.
    You say that like it's a bad thing - it's actually a good thing. The more you can use your solar generation and not export it, the better which is why batteries work.

    Generally the per kWh rate that you earn by exporting is less than half the per kWh rate you pay by consuming. So if you can store any excess and use it, instead of drawing from the grid - it saves you the difference between the export and import rate, which is massive.

  23. Post
    #23
    SirGrim wrote:
    You say that like it's a bad thing - it's actually a good thing. The more you can use your solar generation and not export it, the better which is why batteries work.

    Generally the per kWh rate that you earn by exporting is less than half the per kWh rate you pay by consuming. So if you can store any excess and use it, instead of drawing from the grid - it saves you the difference between the export and import rate, which is massive.
    Yes of course, I fully agree. Its just some people when looking at these things will think (or lead to believe by the people selling it) they will be making more power than they can store and use and the rest will go into the grid and they will be paid for it which would help offset the cost.

    I really cant see a 300w system to be worth installing at all.

    - - - Updated - - -

    B|ind-Reaper* wrote:
    tbh I'm assuming he had a typo and probably meant 2.95KW or something like that.
    Possibly. OP plz confirm

  24. Post
    #24
    Pretty sure the OP meant "The panels they will use are 295W, I don't realise that's meaningless which is why I am a person who would consider SolarZero."

    The size of the inverter indicates the output they were planning (3-3.6KW).

    SL1CKSTA wrote:
    Solar is a good idea but if you want to do it please don't go to these larger companies they will rip you off get a total.

    2 years ago when I was in the industry we did a 1.5kw system for 3999 installed. You can install a diverter with a simple grid tied system and divert all extra power to the hot water cylinder if you have one. We got payback under 10 years easily
    I never thought of this, it's a great idea! Your hot water cylinder becomes your power storage. Of course it returns it in hot water, and the timing isn't perfect, but it's not pulling from the grid during the day.

    Top loader doing hot washes on a time delay to run around 2pm. Staggered with your dishwasher (which annoyingly can't pull hot water).

  25. Post
    #25
    suntoucher wrote:
    Pretty sure the OP meant "The panels they will use are 295W, I don't realise that's meaningless which is why I am a person who would consider SolarZero."

    The size of the inverter indicates the output they were planning (3-3.6KW).



    I never thought of this, it's a great idea! Your hot water cylinder becomes your power storage. Of course it returns it in hot water, and the timing isn't perfect, but it's not pulling from the grid during the day.

    Top loader doing hot washes on a time delay to run around 2pm. Staggered with your dishwasher (which annoyingly can't pull hot water).
    Yep YHI import them, I am unaware of others who do but its possible.
    https://yhipower.co.nz/catalog/solar...er-104732.htmx

    Its a seriously cool concept for getting payback time down.

    What I always told people is size for your lifestyle and change your habits, the issue I had was the snake oil sales people pushing massive systems on consumers that would not suit them at all and would actually reduce payback time.

    It's a interesting industry to be in, if you are cleaver you can set up your own battery system (lifepo4 or similar) and attach it to a Solax hybrid inverter.