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solarcity this week launched its solarZero service in Christchurch. Michael Peterson from St Albans will be the first person in the South Island to install solar panels on his home for free, and pay for the for the power they generate, not for the panels. This smart new way to go solar will allow Christchurch homeowners to buy solar power to support their day time energy needs for as little as $64 per month, with design, installation, insurance, monitoring and the performance guarantees included.
Andrew Booth, Founder and CEO of solarcity says, “Christchurch is now facing the highest power prices it has ever seen. We know the cost of power has gone up by a staggering 51% in Christchurch over the last 10 years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. solarZero will give Christchurch families who are often overwhelmed by the rising cost of power some certainty around what they will pay each month. We can set a price for solar power generated from your roof at a rate below what’s charged by your current power company and then fix this rate for 20 years.”
solarcity’s solarZero programme is driving a rooftop revolution in parts of North America where 70% of solar systems installed on homes and schools use a zero-down approach. “Essentially you pay for the power that is generated, not the technology itself and it removes the whole upfront cost of solar, which in New Zealand is a huge barrier. We know that 85% of Kiwis want to go solar but the vast majority of them can’t afford the $10,000 to put a solar system on their roof. With solarZero it’s no longer an issue, because you don’t have to pay anything up front,” says Booth.
solarZero is backed by Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment and New Zealand Superannuation fund through Pencarrow. The goal of solarZero is to deploy clean energy and help Christchurch work towards the government’s renewable energy goal of 90% renewable energy by 2025.
St Albans resident Michael Peterson, who is the first person in the South Island to get solarZero installed says, “I’ve always wanted to go solar because I know a lot of the power I’ve been using is generated from fossil fuels like coal and gas that are bad for the environment and now that I don’t have to pay for the panels I can do it without worrying about the cost.”
SolarZero can be added to a home at any time and the majority of solarZero installations take place on existing homes, but for best results during building or renovations, solarcity recommends involving solar experts in the initial planning. This will help identify how many solar panels are needed to power the house and what direction they should face to maximise solar output. “Rebuilding Christchurch is hugely important for the future and with the launch of solarZero, solar power as a sustainable energy solution can now play a big part in this rebuild”, says Booth.