Russel Norman’s Campaign Conference Speech 2014: Going Solar

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, February 16th, 2014 - 239 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, greens, russel norman, sustainability - Tags:

The original speech is here.

Introduction: Standing on the threshold

The anticipation in the air at this conference is like no other that I can remember.

We are standing on the threshold of history — the moment when the Green Party forms New Zealand’s first green government.

The Green Party plans to make New Zealand 100 percent renewable in electricity by 2030 – setting us free forever from dirty energy and the huge risks this poses to a stable climate. New Zealand can show the world how to produce 100 percent pure electricity.

We, as a nation, are about to embark on a new political journey led by compassionate values and smart leadership.

Assembled before me are our election candidates. Never before have we had so much talent and energy assembled in one place.

We’re building the biggest Green Team yet to fight this election and fight it fair.

We don’t accept campaign donations from casinos or oil companies.

And we have the most transparent, democratic list selection process of any political party. We are, at our very core, what a vibrant democracy can look like.

So here we are, standing on this threshold like a worker on the first day of a new job facing a world of potential and possibilities before us — but one with huge challenges that will demand our deepest wells of creativity and energy to solve.

We’re about to make history, but we can’t do this alone. We need to bring the country with us; share our vision for a smarter, greener, and fairer Aotearoa New Zealand.

This year, we will show New Zealand what a green government will look like.

How does prosperity look to New Zealanders raising young families, New Zealanders starting university, or New Zealanders starting their own businesses?

We have a profoundly hopeful vision for a richer New Zealand — a country where rivers run clear, our kids are happy, and there are good-paying jobs in a smarter, greener economy.

It will take vision and leadership to get us there and the Greens have a record of both.

Forty years ago we led the debate with what is the most profound new idea of the last century — that we live on a finite planet with finite natural resources.

This simple idea is changing the course of human history.

It is the idea that we can tap into the unlimited resources of human creativity and generosity so that we can live great lives while respecting the natural limits of the planet.

We were also the first political party to talk about the idea that growing inequality leaves everyone worse off.

We are the people that lead the debate about how to live good lives — good to each other and good to the planet.

This is very different to the alternative offered by National, which is about how to do more of the same.

More of the same is no longer working for most of us. More of the same is no longer working for our rivers. More of the same is no longer working for our climate.

Initiatives announced so far

Over the last year or so, we’ve announced a number of new initiatives that begin to demonstrate in a clear, concrete way what a green government will begin to deliver on the day after Election Day 2014. Let me recap that story so far.

In December 2012, we released our discussion paper about how to make the most of the expanding internet economy and information technology sector.

We proposed building a second fibre optic cable connecting New Zealand to the rest of the world and laying the foundation for an expanding ICT sector in New Zealand.

The current cable is a constraint on the development of the New Zealand ICT sector, both in terms of price and resilience. We have received strong support from across the ICT sector and will be making further announcements as the year progresses.

In January last year, Metiria launched our Home For Life package of initiatives designed to meaningfully put home ownership within the reach of thousands more Kiwi families while improving the lot for renters too.

The flagship policy in that package was our progressive ownership scheme, which gives young New Zealand families a leg up into their first home.

Around the time of the Budget in May last year, I announced a package of economic measures that will help address the New Zealand economy’s single largest vulnerability — our large and growing international debt.

This might not seem very exciting, but it could not be more important because the Greens are serious about running the New Zealand economy in a smart and responsible manner to ensure we live within our means and secure long-term, stable economic prosperity.

The package included our long-term commitment to raising a comprehensive tax on capital gains (excluding the family home), reforming the Reserve Bank’s mandate, and investing in a stronger, more sophisticated Kiwibank to break the near total monopoly foreign banks have on our banking sector.

Then we released our NZ Power plan in response to a lack of competition and rising electricity prices. We jointly announced with Labour our plan to save Kiwi families up to $300 per year on their home energy bills.

Our NZ Power plan will deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to households and provide the foundation to build a genuinely smart grid. It complements our hugely successful home insulation scheme and is the first of several significant announcements in the energy sector.

Most recently, we announced one of our smartest packages yet for dealing with child poverty and the detrimental impact it has on the educational opportunities of our most vulnerable children. How can you learn when you’re hungry?

We plan to set up hubs in lower decile schools that will bring together health, welfare, and other support services in one place to lessen the impact of poverty on a child’s learning.

Education is the best route out of poverty. Our proposal will remove the significant barriers poorer kids face before they’ve even opened up their exercise books.

And we’ll deliver one of the most effective child poverty reduction measures for a tenth of the cost of National’s tax cut package for the richest ten percent of New Zealanders.

This is what a smart and compassionate green government will look like.

Over the coming months, we plan to roll out further new measures to make sure New Zealand is a country we can be proud of.

Today, I want to focus on smarter greener economics and one part of our Green vision for energy freedom.

Green plans for energy freedom

Renewable electricity generation is now the fastest growing sector of electricity generation in the world.

According to the International Energy Agency, wind, solar, and hydro energy are set to overtake gas generation in the next couple of years to become the second largest source of electricity in the world.

As a result, green jobs are growing fast. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the greener the industry, the higher the rate of job growth over the last decade.

The clean energy future is here and New Zealand has a lucky head-start in the electricity sector with three quarters of our electricity coming from renewable sources.

The Green Party plans to make New Zealand 100 percent renewable in electricity by 2030 – setting us free forever from dirty energy and the huge risks this poses to a stable climate.

New Zealand can show the world how to produce 100 percent pure electricity.

Having our electricity come exclusively from renewable sources will give us the freedom from ever higher electricity prices.

Having our electricity come exclusively from renewable sources will free us from the cost of carbon emissions and the hurt they will cause our children from a dangerously destabilised climate.

And as electricity comes to run more of our transport network, renewable energy will free us of the burden of the $8 billion yearly oil import bill. A bill that will only increase in the years ahead.

Even halving this bill gives New Zealand $4 billion a year to invest elsewhere in productive enterprise that creates jobs, while cutting greenhouse emissions. That is real freedom.

To help get us to 100 percent renewable, we’ll need new investment and policies to encourage energy efficiency and new technology to harness surplus energy from biofuels. Watch this space.

Today, I’m launching new policy that will empower New Zealand homeowners and businesses to play a part in creating a clean energy sector, while giving them more freedom over their use of power and the option to be small-scale generators.

This is all about the power of the sun.

Going Solar

Now when Maui and his brothers harnessed the sun it was a rather complex operation. They spent five days weaving flax ropes, travelled far to the East, hid under trees and bushes for 12 days and then made their move, risking their lives to catch and slow Tama-nui-te-Rā.

Thankfully it’s a whole lot easier these days. Solar energy is abundant, accessible and within a few years, is likely to be the cheapest source of power in many countries around the world.

In America, one home or business goes solar every four minutes.

More than a million Australian homes now have solar photovoltaic panels (PV) installed.

And many of you are probably familiar with how, on one hot summer’s day, Germany met close to half its midday electricity needs through solar power.

That’s half of Europe’s biggest and strongest economy running on sun.

And most parts of Germany get far less sun than New Zealand – Invercargill has roughly the same solar resource as Germany.

Jim Rogers, the recently retired head of the biggest energy utility in the US said that if he were entering the energy industry now, he’d be into rooftop solar – this from a man who’s been promoting nuclear, gas, and coal power for most of his career.

New Zealanders are increasingly going solar. Installations have jumped in the past two years, but from a low base.

The cost of solar has fallen dramatically. Between 2011 and last year, the price of installing PV dropped 36 percent.

It now costs about $10,000 to put in a 3kW PV system. That’s impressive when you consider it was about $40,000 in 2004.

Real New Zealanders are experiencing these benefits, like Philippa Johnson who installed solar on the roof of her North Shore home last year. Her monthly power bill is now down to $30.

Here in the audience I welcome Stu Selby and Erika Whittome, who live in a solar home with their baby girl Rosanna, who can tell you first-hand about how great it is.

The value of the New Zealand solar industry is now double what it was in 2011, and valued at about $42 million. This has meant green jobs and cheaper power for thousands.

However compared to other countries, New Zealand’s solar electricity industry has a lot of catching up to do.

And that’s why I’m launching our Solar Homes policy today. We need a step change in solar.

New Zealand electricity bills are too high — they’ve risen 67 percent ahead of inflation over the last 22 years.

Here in Auckland, people have seen their electricity bills go up 19 percent alone in the five years of a National Government. Wages are not keeping up with the rapidly rising costs of running a household. Power companies are making super profits.

NZ Power is one part of the solution, by introducing real competition into the market, but we need to make sure that NZ Power isn’t only efficient but also green. The plan we’re announcing today complements our NZ Power measures and also delivers more affordable power to Kiwis.

We don’t think big electricity company shareholders should be able to dictate the price of our power. We don’t think they should have this much control over what we do in our homes.

Call it energy freedom, call it energy independence, this is a policy that will let Kiwis take the power back and break free from the big energy companies.

It’s about being free of the worry and stress of rising power prices.

Under the Greens’ Solar Homes’ initiative, individuals and families will be able to get low-cost loans from government to install solar power on the roof of their home, so they can tap into free and clean power to generate their own electricity.

The biggest obstacle stopping most families from going solar today is the up-front cost. This is where we can leverage our government’s lower cost of borrowing to allow tens of thousands of homes and businesses to install solar power, at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.

Solar Homes loans will be repaid through rates and the loan attaches to the house. This allows families and businesses to invest without the concern they will lose their investment if they move house within a few years.

Once you start generating solar power, you will also be able to sell any surplus power back into the grid at a fair price.

A typical system will produce $1,000 of electricity a year at current prices, and cost $900 a year over 15 years to pay off, leaving the owner $100 better off each year.

Over 25 years, the average family unit will produce $28,000 worth of power without a single government subsidy in sight — just a loan guarantee over a very secure investment.

Our new Solar Homes initiative is a simple, low cost way to move towards our goal of a 100 percent clean and sustainable power supply.

Solar Homes will create up to 1,000 new green jobs and boost economic development throughout the regions. We learnt this month that the US solar industry now employs more people than coal and gas combined. We can be creating similar high-value, long-term jobs here in New Zealand.

For anyone thinking about going solar, start with two simple questions:

  1. Do you have roof space?
  2. Does your roof get a decent amount of sun?

If you answered yes to both, you are a candidate for cheaper, cleaner power.

Our homes are our castles, right Metiria? They can also become our power sources.

We are a country rich in solar. Right now high-energy sun is hitting rooftops across New Zealand and most of it is going to waste. Let’s start harnessing it instead.

Many New Zealand homes are exposed annually to 20-30 times more energy from the sun than they actually use in electricity or gas. Solar power helps reduce household living costs while also reducing the cost to the planet.

With solar power on your roof, you know you are helping to do something good for the climate.

Most New Zealanders have already changed their lives in one way or another to help make a better world. Whether it’s recycling, taking the bus or train, cycling, walking, tree planting or composting, people are looking for a way to make a contribution to make the planet a better place for themselves and their kids.

But many are looking for ways to do more. We want to ensure that when the lights and heaters are on, it’s not costing the planet. With solar power, you can play a part.

Between 1990 and 2011, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation rose by nearly 50%. The sector now produces 5 million tonnes of CO2 every year. This is not acceptable for a country that can have 100 percent of our electricity come from renewables.

New Zealand’s emissions are at their highest levels ever and trending up.

Since we signed up to the UN process in 1992, our emissions have risen nearly 60 percent. Latest Government figures project another 50 percent increase by 2030. We are going in the opposite direction to where we need to be going, and fast.

The Greens will put us back on track.

National wants to usher in an energy future defined by drilled oil, fracked gas and mined coal. But most Kiwis aren’t that short sighted. They want energy that’s enduring and sustainable — a New Zealand powered by clean energy.

If we can harness the power of the sun and wind, we are free from the need to frack and drill, free from all the environmental risks that come with fracking and drilling.

We estimate that up to 30,000 households will say yes to Solar Homes over the first term of government.

As part of our modeling we looked at the extraordinary uptake of the Greens’ Heat Smart home insulation initiative.

Over 230,000 homes around New Zealand (60,000 in Auckland alone) are now warmer, drier and healthier thanks to our scheme. These uptake numbers broke all initial estimates.

Heat Smart was a Green Party policy achieved from outside Government. Imagine what we’ll be able to do once we’re in.

Solar Homes is one part of a bigger, more comprehensive energy package from the Greens. It builds on previous energy announcements like NZ Power and the tremendous success of the home insulation scheme and there will be more to come.

My colleague, Gareth Hughes, last year launched a set of complementary measures to ensure that households with rooftop solar selling surplus power to the grid get a fair price, set by an independent umpire.

We will amend the Electricity Industry Act to guarantee a fair price to households that feed electricity back into the grid. At the moment, the price is set month-by-month and is not enough of an incentive or guarantee for the greater uptake of small-scale renewable energy generation.

We want to ensure that people feel excited about generating their own power — we want to help make it a no-brainer for people with a roof and some sun.

We want Kiwis to live smarter so that we can prosper while living well with our natural environment.

Summary

Solar Homes, coupled with NZ Power, are the building blocks of a cleaner, cheaper, smarter electricity network that returns the power to New Zealanders.

Ultimately, it’s all about energy freedom and freedom from a future dependent on fossil fuels and climate disaster.

It’s what a smarter, greener economy looks like.

This is the New Zealand that I want our sons and daughters to grow up in.

It’s a New Zealand to get excited about — one that just keeps getting better and better.

Bring on the election.

239 comments on “Russel Norman’s Campaign Conference Speech 2014: Going Solar”

  1. ianmac 1

    As Bad 12 says over on Open Mike, feeding solar energy straight into the Grid via a smartmeter without the need for batteries, makes the policy not just good but great!

    • bad12 1.1

      Yep what a great statement to open the election year from Russell Norman, and by that i mean GREAT in capitals,

      Lets standardize and simplify the system of using solar energy, take the battery component out of a solar system and carve a large chunk of the cost of that system and it’s maintainence out of the equation at the onset,

      The simplified equation is for the solar panels to generate electricity that would feed a smart meter capable of converting the electricity to 240 volts and from there, into the wiring that brings electricity into the home and thus into the National Grid, that cuts out the need for expensive batteries which in my opinion are a total waste of resources and a high maintainence cost in any solar system,

      In conjunction with the Labour/Green plan to have the Government act as the single wholesaler, a nice dovetail is easily created where the household power generated from solar would be sold to the Government wholesaler at wholesale price and such household solar generation would be bought first by the Government wholesaler befor the electricity of the major generators,

      The household generator of solar would then receive a credit on their monthly power bill which would show power generated and power bought from the retailer, a Government computer simply telling the retailer what that credit on the household bill, there only need be a mechanism for the Government wholesaler to reimburse the retailer for that credit,

      That might sound a complex system to set up, but its not, especially given the initial numbers at the start will be small(ish), the (ish) in consideration of what the uptake of the Green home insulation scheme turned out to be,

      All in all a BIG UPS to Russell Norman and the Green Party for what is Smart economics,and, Smart enviromental action in an entirely positive vein,(no shower-heads or light bulbs in sight), this is a WIN for the consumer and a WIN for the enviroment, in other words one hell of a WIN/WIN for us all…

      • weka 1.1.1

        The battery issue is tricky. In some situations batteries make sense. The national grid is not very resilient or future proof. A big quake along the Alpine Fault is expected to take out most of the power to the South Island. As bad as that would be now, given what we know about NZ’s impaired capacity to recover after Chch, imagine that in 20 years time when the pressures of Peak Oil and GFC are brought to bear. Myself, I’d choose batteries.

        However, if the national grid was decentralised, and local areas were able to meet their own power generation needs, then the need for batteries would decrease hugely. Even within cities, utilities should be decentralised but connected (I seem to remember this was a lesson from Chch).

        In the meantime, it looks to me like Norman is signalling the power companies to get into battery supply if they are worried about loss of profits from the govt controlling the cost of buying back power from households, but that the long term view is local micro generation.

        But, yeah, batteries… expensive infrastructure spread out into households, and significant environmental issues. Don’t know if those are worse or better than what we have now.

        • bad12 1.1.1.1

          Weka, consider this equation not as being critical of you, your attitude to the Alpine Fault, or some other disaster and the wish to future proof your lifestyle against this is pretty normal human behavior,

          However, if the cost of future proofing your current lifestyle from an event that may or may not happen in your lifetime or even that of your children is the poisoning of any number of third world labourers, many of them who would be children, would that be acceptable,

          The use of a mass of batteries in solar generation, unless the consumer is off grid, in my view considering the resources of production needed and what the destination of such a mass of batteries upon them reaching the end of their useful life would be is best described as a luxury,

          Personally in the face of a natural disaster i would rather walk in the shoes of a peasant child of the sub-continent likely to be paid the equivalent of 2 cents a day while being poisoned taking apart batteries no longer of use in our solar systems by simply going without for a while in terms of electricity as opposed to the alternative luxury of having batteries in the system and being responsible for the carnage likely to be caused in the disposal of those batteries…

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        Grid-tied solar is the de-facto installation for solar and has been for many years now, not some exotic thing that is an extra add-on. I’m sure that’s what the $10k for 3 kilowatt example in his speech is talking about.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1

          “the defacto installation” – citation needed. My sparky says far more people just get solar hot water. Citation needed for that too 🙂

          • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.1

            I’m talking about solar power installations.

            For solar power installations, the de-facto installation is grid-tied. Simply because it’s usually at least $6-7k cheaper than getting batteries, which need to be replaced every ~10 years for a similar price, and unless you build a via big solar array and large battery bank (which significantly increases the $ even further) or you use a very modicum of power, you’re going to need a connection to the grid for your power anyway.

            Your response is akin to replying to someone asking which breed of dog to get “have you considered a persian cat?”.

            And yes, solar hot water is a lot more popular, because it’s more efficient when it comes to heating water. Solar PV has the benefit that the solar gain can be used for all electrical appliances in the house, eg fridge, lights, cooking, not just the hot water. I believe the cost of solar PV doesn’t beat out solar hot water yet, but in 5 years it probably will. See my post further down wondering whether this policy will cover solar hot water or not. I’ve also sent an email to Russel asking the same, and if not, the explanation why not.

      • Pasupial 1.1.3

        bad12

        Photovoltaic solar would benefit from kitset standardization, and I like your scheme of using the grid as effective storage. However, you do really want some battery capacity to help smooth out the system transistions that can fry semi-compatible electronics. This, in Saturday’s ODT suggests an interesting combo of vehicle and battery:

        ” Mr Bruggemann built his EV for $20,000 using New Zealand componentry and his and others’ know-how. The vehicle has clocked up 20,000km without missing a beat.
        His latest innovative project is turning the vehicle into a giant battery capable of providing three days’ power for his house. It will be a New Zealand first.”

        http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/291555/powering-future

        • karol 1.1.3.1

          I like the idea of having localised power generation – not necessarily just within homes, but within communities. And being able to store some of the power generated.

          Looks like a pretty impressive scheme from The Greens.

      • Chooky 1.1.4

        +100…solar is the way to go….just need the initial money to put it on your roof

        GO GREEN economics!

    • lprent 1.2

      My father was showing me his new solar setup in Rotorua last weekend. Cost about $11k for the panels, DC to AC inverter, and installation.

      But the nett difference (ie the amount of power he has had to buy) over the last couple of months has been ~5%. The amount my parents feed the grid during summer is close to the amount that they use. The actual dollar value is a bit bigger than that because of the cost/price differentials.

      On the other hand, they haven’t finished covering the roof of the garage yet. They’re waiting to see what their bills are like, and what the prices of panels do.

      It won’t change that much as you’d expect over winter. Their hot water and oven are on bottled gas. Their heating is from a ferociously efficient potbelly. The main extra draw will be from the lights.

      Started to look at the enormous roof on the top of my apartment block…

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        The actual dollar value is a bit bigger than that because of the cost/price differentials.

        There shouldn’t be any. What having price differentials means is that the power company is buying electricity from the household and then selling it back to them at a profit. This effectively removes the benefits for the household and gives them to the power company – hell, the power company doesn’t even have to pay to maintain them.

        There’s twos way that having solar generation on houses works: First is when the amount the power retailer pays is the same as the amount it charges and the second is when the household lives within it’s own power generation. The most efficient is the first but this government isn’t concerned with efficiency – only profit for the new owners of the power generators.

  2. Nick K 2

    So the government loans the money; but that money it loans is actually mine because I pay it to them via taxes. And so the government is going to lend me my own money at a cheap rate to solar power my own home, which I pay rates on.

    I will then repay this loan (to myself) via my rates to the council (who is acting on behalf of me collecting it). If I default on the loan to myself, the council can sue me and sell my home, because the Rating Powers Act allows this.

    And so the end result of this absurdity is that if I default on a loan to myself the council can sell my home and collect my loan to me. Do I then get my loan (to myself) back?

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to lower taxes and other regulatory costs and let people spend their own money on their own solar energy? Or is that too simple for the Greens?

    • mickysavage 2.1

      But Nick would you ever make a voluntary decision to invest in Solar Power?

      • Nick K 2.1.1

        Yes, I have thought about it a lot recently. We have a pool at our house which would benefit from solar heating too. And if I choose to take my own money from the State that will still be a voluntary decision!

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Many years ago I heard of a person who owned a pool that set up solar heating for said pool. He just got some black plastic pipe and laid it across the garage roof. Designed as a siphon system so it didn’t add too much weight to the pools normal pump. He had to disconnect it after a few days because the pool was getting too hot.

          Cost him a couple of hundred dollars but that was 20+ years ago.

          BTW, this is how the Greens policy will actually work:
          This policy by the Greens has nothing to do with tax. The householder goes down to the local council and takes out a loan. That loan will be financed through the governments ability to borrow which costs less than a private banks ability to borrow. The council/government will charge the same rate of interest that they’re charged making the loans costless to the government.

          Of course, if the government just created the money like they should do then there wouldn’t be any interest charged at all and it would still be costless to the government.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1

            yep – knew of a similar pool dug by a farmer (before the days of resource consent 🙂 ) who lined it with black plastic – got very hot in summer 🙂

    • bad12 2.2

      Are you dim by birth Nick K, or is it simply dimness via deliberation, what Russell Norman is proposing is that this initiative will not need a budget from within the tax take,

      The proposal is that the Government borrow the necessary coin which you would use to install your solar system, you would then pay back the Government the monies borrowed plus the interest it cost for the Government to borrow the money,

      i believe Rob Muldoon did something similar with gas conversions in motor vehicles way back in the oil shock days…

    • Stephanie Rodgers 2.3

      It’s a bit silly to talk about taxes as though there’s a closed loop of money which is earned by you, paid by you, borrowed by you and repaid to you. We all pay taxes for the good of the whole community. This means some of the money you might borrow to install solar is your neighbour’s; on the other hand. some of the money spent on their healthcare might be yours.

      • Colonial Viper 2.3.1

        You can’t reason with people only interested in selfish hoarding and personal consumption, the successful and “self-made” who believe that they birthed themselves and taught themselves to read and write.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.2

        Wingnuts hate paying their taxes, or obeying any law that doesn’t suit their sense of entitlement.

  3. AWW 3

    I think it’s fantastic. Roll on 2014 election!

  4. Foreign Waka 4

    Fantastic, a voice for a brighter future – in the true sense of the word.

  5. Zorr 5

    It is brilliant. I’d be there on Day -1 signing up to be one of the first!

  6. Ad 6

    Vector have a deal where they will install the photovoltaic panels to your house, and you pay a lease cost, and you can sell back on the hot days and buy on the cloudy days.

    I hope the Greens policy is a hard shunt for the retailers to go even further than Vector.

    Would be good to see this policy linked to the Labour homes policy.

  7. George D 7

    It reads pretty well. It was even better being in the audience.

  8. weka 8

    Full policy details https://www.greens.org.nz/solarhomes

    Looks like a smart, well thought out policy. I can pick some holes in it (esp around solar batteries), but for the mainstream it’s a good start, and a good example of holistic thinking getting into mainstream politics (the policy works at multiple, interrelated levels across many areas).

  9. Lanthanide 9

    I wonder if this policy will cover, or be expanded to cover, solar hot water heating as well as solar PV.

    Solar hot water is simpler and a lower up-front cost than solar PV.

    I’m planning to build an energy efficient house next year, so these policies are particularly interesting to me…

    • Anne 9.1

      It’s smart and lateral thinking at it’s best. Yes, Nick K lateral thinking is something you and your fellow rwnjs are incapable of comprehending. Hence your tragically tunnel-visioned personas.

      It would dovetail in beautifully with Labour’s housing policy too which makes me suspect there is accommodation occurring between Labour and the Greens.

      Great stuff.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateral_thinking

      NZ was a world leader in lateral thinking once…

    • geoff 9.2

      Yeah solar hot water is vastly more efficient than using photovoltaic solar panel electricity to heat water.

      Great policy by the Green’s though!

  10. bad12 10

    Simon Bridges, the Minister of Stupid TV sound-bites, ”the Greens are printing money” ”the Greens are printing money” is the criticism of the Dunce without clue,

    Wonder which bit of the plan to borrow the money to implement the solar energy roll out Bridges cant quite get His obviously damaged intellect to understand,

    The money for the purchase/installation of a solar system will be repaid with the low interest rates by the home-owner,

    The Government will simply be acting as a low interest loan company for the purposes of the solar installation,

    Watch for Slippery the Prime Minister to turn feral some time this week as those that pull His strings demand He drown this announcement from the
    Green Party in a large bucket of His drivel…

  11. srylands 11

    The Greens Solar policy has some merit. However, I doubt take up will be high.

    The difference between the Government borrowing rate and adding borrowing onto your mortgage is not very much.

    The key is whether the savings from purchasing energy from the grid can pay for the large upfront capital investment. Who is going to invest $18,000 to save $100 per month?

    The savings are optimistic, and the investment can be risky – solar panels get damaged in storms – what will they do to insurance premiums? Can they be insured as part of a standard housing policy?

    Panels become less efficient as they get older so after 10 years they are between 68-80% productive. That has not been factored in.

    Also, New Zealanders move house on average every 7 years. That makes long term, risky investments in energy infrastructure a difficult proposition. Solar panels are hard to take with you.

    If there is surplus electricity going back to the grid, can that be handled at multiple points of entry? If that requires additional investment, who will pay for it?

    Ultimately solar will (or not) become popular when the market dictates it, Not when politicians decide to use the Crown’s borrowing (and taxing) powers to make it happen faster. In fact a Government promoted scheme can be undesirable if it causes low income people to shut their eyes to the risks of the investment. There are doubtless others than the ones I have alluded to here.

    • McFlock 11.1

      blessed be the name of the market…

      • grumpy 11.1.1

        The current electricity market is fucked……..

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1

          Or more correctly, doing a lot of rentier fucking of ordinary consumers.

          • grumpy 11.1.1.1.1

            The “electricity market” was never designed to be a real market but a trough for pseudo executives and a money generator for vested interests.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.1.1

              +1

            • srylands 11.1.1.1.1.2

              No, it was designed to be a real market.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                …but it is a real market failure.

              • grumpy

                by fuckwits

              • Draco T Bastard

                Which just proves that the market doesn’t work.

              • Foreign waka

                With a closed market as NZ it always could only be an experiment and for this the conditions are perfect. However, to sell the trial of economic theory as a solution by i.e. subsidizing the smelter with no guaranty for long term stay at extraordinary rates and at the same time have the homeowner footing the bill is …… indescribable really – I do not want to swear here. Yes, one needs to charge enough to maintain the network and improve in but the increases are incredible – up to 7% in the next 18 months! This can be called fleecing the market. There will be a lot of people who will have their power cut off and WINZ will tell them that they will get a couple of dollars. How ridicules – an economy should work for people not the other way around.

    • weka 11.2

      I take it you haven’t read the policy then. The loan is attached to the house (repaid via rates), not the homeowner.

      What’s the govt lending rate that they will use?

      • srylands 11.2.1

        “I take it you haven’t read the policy then. The loan is attached to the house (repaid via rates), not the homeowner.”

        Changes nothing.

        If the loan is attached to the house, it will be just as important that the investment delivers and those returns are not impeded by some of the factors I listed. Otherwise buyers will discount the price they pay for the house.

        For most householders, solar is a relatively risky way to generate power. Shaving the financing cost doesn;t change that much. But at the margin, the promotion of the policy by a Government will tip some people into making the move. These people are more likely to be less intelligent and so on lower incomes, and less able to cope with adverse consequences.

        Finally, New Zealand businesses need capital for productive investment. We don’t want to encourage unproductive investment.

        The policy is chapéued by the aim of making 100% renewable by 2030. That is the real danger because trying to to that will be expensive and not in the country’s interests.

        So in summary, solar is fine. Governments could have a role in ensuring people understand the risks and returns. But actively promoting solar is not a good thing. The optimum role out should be determined by the market.

        • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1

          More economic goobledegook and Voodoo economics from Shitlands.

          Time to get NZ to 100% renewable electricity; I will be sorry to see your power shares tank but that’s the risk you took.

        • tricledrown 11.2.1.2

          Like the $500 million subsidy to Rio Tinto
          Schrillglands.
          $30 million directly by shonKey.
          $476million directed by shonkey from meridian.
          Rio Tinto makes Record profit against falling commodity prices holding govts to ransom.
          Not unlike woolworths /countdown.
          Australians haven’t changed sincethe penal colony days
          Bush rangers are Now boardroom rangers

        • grumpy 11.2.1.3

          No, the “market” does not reflect the worth to the country. It is in the current market’s interests to shut out solar.
          Normally I would agree with you but by no stretch of the imagination could the current NZ Electricity industry be termed a “market”.

        • adam 11.2.1.4

          My goodness you make me laugh srylands. Do you honestly believe there is a market in this economy? Corporate capitalism has this major fault you see – it destroys markets, so market determination you speak of is just jargon for – if we put the idea forward – then the market approves.

          It’s like the fairies at the bottom of the garden srylands, some of us don’t see them and are starting to think you’re lot are just making it all up.

    • mickysavage 11.3

      Who is going to invest $18,000 to save $100 per month?

      That is a 6.67% return that is tax free and pretty well risk free. As long as depreciation works out this is not too bad at all. And the future trends are all favourable.

      • Colonial Viper 11.3.1

        Srylands represents the capitalist speculator class, a group of people who are not so much investors as individuals who want windfall profits in exchange for no risk (or state socialised risk).

      • Once was Pete 11.3.2

        It would be a 6.7% return if you actually had the money to invest. But since it is being borrowed the interest cost has to be netted off the return and there is also the cash flow issue that many families won’t be able to find an extra $900 per year to repay the loan.

        • Colonial Viper 11.3.2.1

          Huh? Not only could the govt provide low or zero interest loans, but $900 pa is easily repaid through the power savings garnered.

          In addition there is a special attraction for many households: the ability to dramatically reduce the monies paid out to the privatised power corporates.

      • tricledrown 11.3.3

        Especially as the electricity authority has already signalled the power companies are all going to increase prices.
        Germany already has a policy similar to this.

    • Richard Christie 11.4

      srylands Panels become less efficient as they get older so after 10 years they are between 68-80% productive. That has not been factored in.

      Do you have a source for this?

      Seems higher than anything I’ve read in course of my own research on PV.

      For example here’s a source that calls you a liar

      http://sroeco.com/solar/solar-efficiency-losses-over-time

    • lprent 11.5

      Panels become less efficient as they get older so after 10 years they are between 68-80% productive. That has not been factored in.

      Bullshit, Might have been that case when they didn’t know how to lay down silicon well.. But for anything over the last 20 or even 30 years that is kept cleanish, they typically degrade by a maximum of 20% over 20-25 years. At ten years it is usually less than 10%.

      If they survive 25 years, they appear to stop degrading. It appears that any cell that will fail has done so.

      The most common degradation is from not doing basic cleaning of them, excessively cleaning them, or the most common – wind.

    • lprent 11.6

      The key is whether the savings from purchasing energy from the grid can pay for the large upfront capital investment. Who is going to invest $18,000 to save $100 per month?

      Is that trick question? A group that expects to live for 20-30 years with low incomes. Most of the people I have seen putting them in recently have been people who are retired or about to retire. They’re often pretty cashed up because of selling property to move to smaller towns and houses and/or receiving the contents of their parents residual assets.

      They look at it as being a way of reducing their cash outflow over quite a long retirement. It is also why they’re starting to drop land lines once they discover skype (the number one computer application of the elderly) on tablets.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.7

      Also, New Zealanders move house on average every 7 years. That makes long term, risky investments in energy infrastructure a difficult proposition. Solar panels are hard to take with you.

      That would be why they’re paid back via rates. The loan effectively belongs to the house.

      If there is surplus electricity going back to the grid, can that be handled at multiple points of entry? If that requires additional investment, who will pay for it?

      Well, considering that the power lines can already handle everything that houses draw then they should be able to handle everything that they can generate.

      Ultimately solar will (or not) become popular when the market dictates it

      Leaving it to the market will a) make it so that we won’t be able to handle power down as well as necessary and b) will just continue to make a few people richer while everyone else gets poorer. Time to tell the market and the economists who support it to fuck off.

  12. chris73 12

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/9723121/Worlds-largest-solar-plant-opens

    “According to US Energy Information Administration data, the cost of building and operating a new solar thermal power plant over its lifetime is greater than generating natural gas, coal or nuclear power.”

    “It costs a conventional coal plant US$100 (NZ$120), on average, to produce a megawatt-hour of power, but that figure is US$261 (NZ$315) for solar thermal power, according to 2011 estimates. The figures do not account for incentives such as state or federal tax credits that can affect the cost.”

    Hopefully the cost will come down

    • weka 12.1

      Does that have anything to do with this post?

      • lprent 12.1.1

        I think he engaged copy paste before the brain.

        Of course the economics still aren’t there for vast solar plants. Nor are they there for solar+battery systems until the cost of some of the less degrading battery and/or fuel cells systems drops a lot.

        But distributed solar systems with a grid to feed into that has a lot of hydro is economic now that the chinese dropped the cost to produce medium solar panels.

        • grumpy 12.1.1.1

          Correct, feeding PV generation into a distributed local network has almost no associated transmission costs, hence no need for increased infrastructure spending. Both PV and traditional generation complement each other if planned correctly.

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      Good thing the Greens are advocating solar photovoltaic cells on people’s roofs, and not molten calcium steam engines with generators.

  13. dv 13

    We have a 4kw system installed june last year and cost ca 15k.

    We have used $562 worth of our generated power, and sold (from nov) $177 back to the grid.

    That is $740 in about 6 mtgs.

    Estimated return on investment about 8 to 10%b tax free

    Sryland re storm damage -did you notice what happened to the electricity network in the wellington storms!!!

    Chris73 what was the cost of getting to power to the people?

    I wonder where SimonB thinks money comes from that the banks loan to buy houses

  14. Murray Olsen 14

    I like most of this Green policy. Solar cells are getting cheaper and there are promising breakthroughs happening all the time. Before too long, there may be cheap and efficient organic cells available. Perhaps best of all, the idiots who bought our power companies might lose their shirts. I suppose we could let them have 3c back on the dollar, but of course we’d have to take the cost of the buyback out of that.

    • Anne 14.1

      You’re too soft Murray Olsen.

      How about they pay through the nose for the government to take back their shares. I dunno… 10c per dollar. That should substantially reduce the cost of the buyback. All it would mean is the idiots can’t afford Armani shirts and will have to wear standard cotton (mixed with a bit of polyester) like the rest of the kiwi population.

      • Murray Olsen 14.1.1

        “You’re too soft Murray Olsen.”

        Just one of my many faults. We could always make the administration cost of the buyback 13c per share anyway. I can see compelling reasons for that. In fact, I’d say TINA.

        I really like a lot of the policy the Greens come out with. I just wish they and Mana as well were a lot bigger so that we could basically forget the Rogernomes still in the Labour caucus. Sadly, for all its faults, Labour is still the organic party of the working class and we need to work with them. If they got a bit more militant about fighting for the dispossessed, maybe we wouldn’t have to hold our breath so much.

    • Skinny 14.2

      Ha ha 3 cents in the dollar nice* I will be looking forward to a lot more laughing watching parliament next week. I’m smiling thinking of some of the lines Joyce is going use about the crazy Greens as he calls them.

      Peters will be rubbing Keys nose in it. Winston can add “spray ‘wipe’ and walk away” after this policy release… the Greens have sprayed Nationals power assets sales ‘again’ and many potential investors are wiped out and now walking away!

      Oh don’t you love seeing the Nats implode?

    • Draco T Bastard 14.3

      Perhaps best of all, the idiots who bought our power companies might lose their shirts.

      I think that’s what National’s really worried about. Get every house with solar power and there’s no way that they’d be able to maintain a profit. National’s rentier mates won’t like that.

  15. Once was Pete 15

    Well the Greens are going to have their work cut out selling this policy.
    Leaving aside the size of the debt incurred on a national level if a reasonable percentage of NZ’s 1.7m homes were ‘captured’ this makes absolutely no sense on an individual economic level. A saving of $100 per year means it will take 150 years to return the capital borrowed.
    Of course this isn’t a real number as power prices can be assumed to increase and the value of the dollar will diminish. Equally it doesn’t factor in interest payments, maintenance or replacement of the system.
    Apart from ideological reasons I can’t see anything to get excited about this deal.

    • Richard Christie 15.1

      A saving of $100 per year means it will take 150 years to return the capital borrowed

      That $100 would be after debt servicing.

      Installing solar PV gave about an 10% return on investment when I did the sums a year ago.

    • ianmac 15.2

      The Home installation idea was from the Greens, ridiculed by National in Opposition then adopted by them. The Nats made a grant for each house whereas the Greens are offering a loan for Solar Power. The drunken outburst from National’s Mr Bridges on TV3 tonight, apart from making him look childish signals that the Greens have made another hit and worrying for the Nats.

    • Colonial Viper 15.3

      Poor OW Pete

      If you don’t like the deal you can decline it.

      Pity that vast numbers of NZers understand that moving towards fossil fuel energy independence is the thing the country needs to do. I suppose you are not amongst that number who get it, but oh well.

      Economics is about the real physical economy. Not about balancing electronic ledgers of numbers. Finances must be used to create effects that we want in the real world. You have it arse-backwards. It might advantage you to realise that.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.3.1

        +1

        Now if Labour would actually realise that and from there realise that the government really can create money and, most importantly, can stop the private banks from creating it.

    • Lanthanide 15.4

      Pretty poor reading comprehension you have there. Must try harder.

      1. The capital is paid off after 15 years, at $900 per year. The net benefit to the owner is $100 per year in those first 15 years – at current power prices. When power prices go up, as they certainly will, the net benefit is higher for those 15 years. Once it’s paid off, you receive a big benefit in reduced power prices after that, $1000 per year on Russel’s figures.

      2. The policy is capped at $300M in the first 3 years, so the “size of the debt” is already known.

  16. Sorry if i missed it but this policy is for home owners isn’t it – not for renters or those who choose not to or cannot afford their own homes.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Hmmmmm good point. Although it wouldn’t be hard to make it a bullet point on a rental Warrant of Fitness.

      • marty mars 16.1.1

        yeah it would be nice to help reduce the power bills of those who need that help the most.

        • weka 16.1.1.1

          Isn’t that what the other part of the GP energy policy does?

          Then we released our NZ Power plan in response to a lack of competition and rising electricity prices. We jointly announced with Labour our plan to save Kiwi families up to $300 per year on their home energy bills.

          Our NZ Power plan will deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to households and provide the foundation to build a genuinely smart grid. It complements our hugely successful home insulation scheme and is the first of several significant announcements in the energy sector.

        • weka 16.1.1.2

          Isn’t that what the other part of the GP energy policy does?

          Then we released our NZ Power plan in response to a lack of competition and rising electricity prices. We jointly announced with Labour our plan to save Kiwi families up to $300 per year on their home energy bills.

          Our NZ Power plan will deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to households and provide the foundation to build a genuinely smart grid. It complements our hugely successful home insulation scheme and is the first of several significant announcements in the energy sector.

      • weka 16.1.2

        From the policy document

        Landlords will benefit from added value to their rentals, which will become particularly relevant with the progressive introduction of a rental Warrant of Fitness sceme.

    • RedLogix 16.2

      No it’s a real problem CV. The difficulty is the classic one that the cost and liability falls to the property owner and the benefits accrue to the tenant.

      Just leaving it to the sainted market is rather inefficient because right now rents are very low compared to property prices and costs. For example today I worked out that it is now taking just over two months rent per year just to pay insurance and rates on one of my units. The bank gets most of the rest. Only a minority of landlords make a substantial positive cash flow, and usually only on older properties in provincial towns or fringe areas.

      Rents are mainly determined by the location, the number of bedrooms and garaging – extra features like good insulation, double-glazing, heat-pumps and the like usually only have a modest effect on market rent. I know this from direct experience.

      Another possible concern is that a small proportion of tenants would see a $10k plus solar installation as just another thing to rip-off or wreck. You only need one bad apple to undo the good of a dozen others. Sad but true.

      A tick on a Rental Warrant of Fitness audit would be well and good if it was mandatory but frankly I’d be surprised if a voluntary compliance code would have much impact. While I would be personally motivated to go solar (and I almost did on several units six months back) – the majority of landlords probably would be pretty reluctant.

      It’s a very real and difficult disconnect and I’d welcome constructive ideas around how to mitigate it.

      Otherwise a strong speech and fine, solid policy from the Greens. Well done.

      • Flip 16.2.1

        Is maybe something that requires a bit of scale to work more economically for landlords. eg apartments, units.

        “.. the cost and liability falls to the property owner and the benefits accrue to the tenant.”

        It may just be a cost of earning income from capital rather than labour. The market may well actually work in its favour. I wonder how many people look for a house with a heat pump (and in the future solar power) when renting now. Admittedly this only applies to wealthy renters who have choices but that is what wealth gives you. Having the benefits you mention that do not directly affect rent might give you better tenants thus mitigating your concern about trashing the property.

        “.. rents are very low compared to property prices and costs.”

        It might just mean that people need to adjust their expectations on returns on property. They may then consider investing in other parts of the economy so reducing the heat in the property market. An asset tax would also help correct property values further. Lots of people in NZ play monopoly (property game) and have got wealthy or live well. (Of course there is the other side of the coin)

        Solar, heat pumps, good insulation will move to becoming a standard feature (like electric windows, power steering, air con in cars) over time thus lifting the quality of housing stock.

        Providing state housing is the best way to lift the quality of poor private rentals. Markets will force the race to the bottom where people do not have choices.

        Rather a long answer and probably not that comforting to landlords.

        • Lanthanide 16.2.1.1

          “I wonder how many people look for a house with a heat pump (and in the future solar power) when renting now. Admittedly this only applies to wealthy renters who have choices but that is what wealth gives you.”

          Bingo. See my reply below.

      • Lanthanide 16.2.2

        “Rents are mainly determined by the location, the number of bedrooms and garaging – extra features like good insulation, double-glazing, heat-pumps and the like usually only have a modest effect on market rent. I know this from direct experience.”

        True enough, but those extra features will also attract better tenants. Certainly I wouldn’t be renting the place I am renting if it didn’t have a heatpump (and dishwasher). We also offered $20/more than the asking rent and this year the landlords elected not to put the rent up because we’ve been such good tenants.

      • marty mars 16.2.3

        kia ora red – can I ask a silly question – why be a landlord?

        I would have thought it was an investment area that generated a return, as in property is an asset class. Therefore any costs must be mitigated and returns enhanced. Adding solar to a rental property is perhaps cool for the country, the environment and the tenants but just another cost for the landlord and i think you have stated that.

        I wonder if being a landlord has more to do with our ‘backgrounds’ as in that was seen as being more ‘lordy’, more advanced (classwise). Should any person be a landlord over another especially when profit is the major motivator (generalisation I know). Anyway just some muddy thoughts.

        • Colonial Viper 16.2.3.1

          There has to be an availability of good properties at fair prices for renters to lease. It is a basic social need. Both the private sector and the public sector can play a role in the provision of these properties.

          I suspect Bill would say that there should also be different structures available for people to choose from eg housing/accomodation co-ops. These structures would not necessarily need “landlords”.

          • Bill 16.2.3.1.1

            “I suspect Bill would say”…housing collectives formed under the auspices of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act of 1908. Set up properly, the occupiers of the properties are equal owners of all the properties. Then, when they leave the property, they are no longer owners and have no say in anything.

            The radical bit is that because ownership is communal, there is no avenue for an individual to buy or sell any of the houses/properties.

            That’s what Bill would say 😉

            Oh – and I’d also add “set up collective income generating projects n the same properties, if you really want to ‘nail it’ and be doing something really quite different and empowering”

    • Murray Olsen 16.3

      It would need to be linked into rental properties as well. I don’t see how the policy makes that difficult, although it would need some goodwill on the part of landlords. Oops, maybe I do see why.

      Even better would be a state housing program with the solar there from the start. That would stop landlords putting the rent up and saying “You’re saving on power anyway.”

      • karol 16.3.1

        I have pondered on the renter impact of the solar power policy. I had thought that, over time, as the use of solar power extended to more properties, there would be a gradual increase in rental accomodation with such a solar power facility. It would be unlikely to have an immediate impact, but very good for the longer term.

  17. tricledrown 17

    Simon bredjiz is worried even more about Genises float if the Greens keep polling well that means National will get a lot less for Genisis.
    Especially as National managed to steal another $50 million out of their working capital for election bribes devalueing the company furthet.

  18. tricledrown 18

    Simon bredjiz is worried even more about Genises float if the Greens keep polling well that means National will get a lot less for Genisis.
    Especially as National managed to steal another $50 million out of their working capital for election bribes devalueing the company furthet.

  19. tricledrown 19

    If we have more droughts .
    This Green policy makes a lot sense as we wouldn’t have to take huntly out of mothball.
    Or import coal to fire it up.

  20. Pasupial 20

    Stuff demonstrates; with their transcript of Shon Key’s Breakfast interview, that the surest way to undermine the Smiling Assassins glib prattle is simply to report it verbatim minus the sociopathic smarm:

    “Key told Breakfast this morning the policy would force people to keep their excess power generation.
    “If you look at the big emissions at the moment in New Zealand, it’s Genesis through Huntly where they have coal fired power plants, and the plan that [the Greens] have got is going to reduce all competition and in my view, put up power costs to consumers, not reduce it, [and] actually locks that in,” he said.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9728877/PM-pours-cold-water-on-Greens-solar-pledge

    Which seems to be saying that; more Photovoltaic solar in the grid will lead to higher electricity prices which in turn will lead to more coal-fired emissions.That is just nonsense; more residential photovoltaic mainly used at source (grid transmission/ storage is maybe 90% efficient) would leave more electricity in the grid which would lower prices to consumers. Especially since this will be in conjunction with the KiwiPower bulk purchase scheme, and the feed-in of overcapacity photovoltaic.

    • Flip 20.1

      Not the first time Key has demonstrated ignorance of basic economic principles. He also thinks that price has no effect on demand. Some people think he is clever. And National think the Greens are have looney economic policies. Pot calling kettle. Good work Greens.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1

        Not the first time Key has demonstrated ignorance of basic economic principles.

        Is it ignorance that he’s showing or outright spin? Personally, I think it’s the latter. If every house has generation capacity then obviously there’s more competition than just the bulk suppliers.

  21. Tombstone 21

    Notice Key has already rubbished it – no surprises there. Anything that benefits the many is a big no no because after all what matters most it would seem is corporate interests and profiteering.

  22. ianmac 22

    Seems strange that this Solar Power Policy was not mentioned on Morning Report today? Steven Joyce has a long arm.

    • Lanthanide 22.1

      It does a bit. I turned on the TV and saw John Key giving an interview on TV1’s morning news programme, so watched that rather than switching to NatRad (as I normally do in the morning while getting dressed).

      Key talked about how great the insulation scheme was. Unfortunate that the interviewer didn’t say “well actually that was Green policy too”.

  23. natwest 23

    Has anyone done the math on this proposal?

    Total Cost of the loan over 15 years:

    Capital repayment of loan = $15,000

    Interest over the term of
    the loan, @ say 5.74% = $6,860

    Total = $21,680

    On my calculations therefore, it will take just over 21years before the consumer sees any benefit, based on Mr Normans assumptions of a saving of $1,000 per annum generated from the system.

    the purpose of the exercise is therefore?

    Just saying.

    • grumpy 23.1

      It is not “just” the consumer that sees benefit but also the country. In a well thought out energy scenario (unlike our present electricity market) you also need to factor in the benefit of forgone new generation capacity. If this policy leads to reduced new construction, then the forgone interest cost could also be used to justify this scheme.

    • Hayden 23.2

      Interest over the term of
      the loan, @ say 5.74% = $6,860

      It won’t be at the current floating mortgage rate:

      The biggest obstacle stopping most families from going solar today is the up-front cost. This is where we can leverage our government’s lower cost of borrowing to allow tens of thousands of homes and businesses to install solar power, at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.

      Solar Homes loans will be repaid through rates and the loan attaches to the house. This allows families and businesses to invest without the concern they will lose their investment if they move house within a few years.

      Once you start generating solar power, you will also be able to sell any surplus power back into the grid at a fair price.

      A typical system will produce $1,000 of electricity a year at current prices, and cost $900 a year over 15 years to pay off, leaving the owner $100 better off each year.

      Over 25 years, the average family unit will produce $28,000 worth of power without a single government subsidy in sight — just a loan guarantee over a very secure investment.

      Anyway, in 15-25 years the PV panels will be a hell of a lot cheaper, so if they need to be replaced they can. The remainder of the installation, i.e., brackets, fixed wiring, smart meter, should all have a longer service life. The kWh price of electricity is constantly rising, solar power or not, so $100/year could easily be $200/year before the system’s even paid off.

    • Lanthanide 23.3

      Another person that can’t read what is already in front of them, just like this bozo: /russel-normans-campaign-conference-speech-2014-going-solar/#comment-773963

      Russel’s figures are around a $10,000 capital cost repaid over 15 years at $900 a year. That’s $13,500. Because he told us the capital cost of $10,000, we know the interest cost is $3,500.

      $3,500 interest on $10,000 works out to a 4.2% interest rate and $900 in repayments.

      Therefore, on the calculations PROVIDED BY RUSSEL IN HIS DAMN SPEECH, it will take exactly 1 year for the consumer to see a benefit of $100, and after 15 years they will see a benefit of $1,000 a year. These benefits are based on today’s power prices, assuming they keep going up at a rate of 22% over the last 5 years like they have under National, the benefits will end up being much larger, much sooner than calculated here.

  24. grumpy 24

    PV generation has it’s place but it certainly is not the answer to increased demand. Costwise it is expensive and without storage requires duplicate infrastructure using other types of generation.
    “Negawatts” is a concept that has been around for decades with early versions actually running the meter backwards.
    Some countries have had very bad experiences with implementation of large scale PV generation but the distributed nature of this scheme, plus the use of the network make this a quite well thought out policy.
    The financial details are another issue………

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      PV generation has it’s place but it certainly is not the answer to increased demand.

      +1

      Each kW of demand reduction is a kW of generation which will not be needed.

      • grumpy 24.1.1

        No, MAY not be needed. This is only correct if the output from PV is matched by a corresponding decrease in the alternative generation. In theory, the output from PV during daylight would lead to higher lake storage levels in hydro schemes but hydro is very difficult to regulate (the water just keeps on spilling). PV works best with faster response generation – coal??

        • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1

          Coal or gas on standby.

        • Draco T Bastard 24.1.1.2

          In theory, the output from PV during daylight would lead to higher lake storage levels in hydro schemes but hydro is very difficult to regulate (the water just keeps on spilling).

          Wrong. The water flow can easily be decreased or increased as demand dictates.

          PV works best with faster response generation – coal??

          Coal is not a fast response. In fact, it’s a very, very slow response. In effect, it needs to be on all the time. Hell, even the diesel powered peaking generators that the last government had built took half an hour to come online.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.2

      Costwise it is expensive and without storage requires duplicate infrastructure using other types of generation.

      NZ has the storage in the hydro lakes. Solar/wind producing more than enough? Then decrease the water running through the dams.

  25. natwest 25

    Another question if I may.

    If Solar energy is such a viable option, why the need for subsidies?

    Consumers would have been lining up for years to install systems if from a financial & economic perspective it was viable, but it is not.

    There is little if no benefit, when the tax payer has to subsidise.

    • grumpy 25.1

      The major benefit is not to the home owner, it is to the country. See my comment above.

      • natwest 25.1.1

        Sorry, but this was Russell’s Policy plank to save people in terms of “huge” power bills.

        So when that gets debunked, we throw in the benefit to the country argument.

        How much of our current generation comes from clean renewable sources? I understand over 80%.

        So this is just another Green scam, poorly researched and not thought through.

        Consumer and other more enlightened evaluers have already shot the economic value of the proposal to pieces.

        Can the left please, I mean please, come up with an economic package thats going to deliver something of value to the country, other than this “Fluffy” feel good ideology rubbish.

        No credibility whatsoever.

        • grumpy 25.1.1.1

          You are correct in that the way Russel has sold this is pure snake oil. It has no economic benefit to the end user.
          My comments were about the usefulness of the technology, as such more of a “demand side management” of the national generating capacity – in which case the benefit is arguable.

          • natwest 25.1.1.1.1

            I respect your argument, but for this one, lets agree to disagree.

          • Draco T Bastard 25.1.1.1.2

            You are correct in that the way Russel has sold this is pure snake oil. It has no economic benefit to the end user.

            And there you’d be wrong. The end user saves money even while they’re paying off the loan.

            • grumpy 25.1.1.1.2.1

              If I had $15k to invest, it makes no financial sense to me personally to put into a PV system when I can get a higher rate of return elsewhere.
              However, if you want to save the planet, then that is not a financial decision……

            • Colonial Viper 25.1.1.1.2.2

              Notice how the word “economic” has become interchangeably used with the word “financial”?

              And in the final analysis the neolibs have no concept of real economics; only financialised economics.

            • Melb 25.1.1.1.2.3

              The interest rates used by the Greens are Govt bonds from the last five years (historically low rates), which they have applied to a 15 year period for some reason (I can only guess economic illiteracy). The Govt will not be able to continue to borrow a 4.2% for the next 15 years; worldwide bond prices are picked to begin increasing soon.

              What happens to the $100/year saving then?

        • weka 25.1.1.2

          “How much of our current generation comes from clean renewable sources? I understand over 80%.”

          There are so many inaccuracies in your comments natwest. I suggest that you read the actual policy (I linked to it upthread) and then come back and comment. Start with the fact that it’s not a subsidy.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 25.2

      Yeah. Little or no benefit from taxpayer subsidised education or healthcare either. Roads, no benefit from them at all.

      Doesn’t it suck when reality comes crashing through?

    • Colonial Viper 25.3

      There is little if no benefit, when the tax payer has to subsidise.

      Your comment is a bullshit fail of an ideology. The role of government is to get things done that purely self interested capitalists and privateers refuse to. Long term infrastructure for the common good or which is not easily monetised falls into that category.

    • Pasupial 25.4

      natwest

      An assisted loan is not necessarily a subsidy any more than bulk purchasing is. The benefits largely involve; reducing Aotearoa’s carbon footprint, and; increasing diversification and robustness of generation sources.

      Read the Speech.
      (transcript above).

    • Draco T Bastard 25.5

      Good job that there’s no subsidies then.

    • Lanthanide 25.6

      It’s only a subsidy in the sense that a consumer gets a loan at a 4.2% interest rate, instead of the current floating mortgage rate of 5.74%. However the government was going to borrow that money and pay that 4.2% interest rate anyway, so in effect it is not costing the government anything except in foregone spending in other areas.

      But since the Roads of Notional Significance are a $10B white elephant to nowhere, it’s very easy to see where the money is coming from

      Solar power on people’s houses for $300M is a far better use of the money than a holiday highway in the north.

      “Consumers would have been lining up for years to install systems if from a financial & economic perspective it was viable, but it is not.”

      From a financial perspective, it is viable, but ONLY on a long-term timeframe. That’s the cleverness in this policy – by attaching the loan to the property and not the owners of the property, the short-test interests of the owners are no longer a key consideration in the decision as to whether to go with solar or not.

      I’m planning to build an energy efficient house next year, and if this policy is implemented, I will very likely be going with solar. Prior to now, I had largely discounted it in favour of solar hot water.

      • srylands 25.6.1

        “by attaching the loan to the property and not the owners of the property, the short-test interests of the owners are no longer a key consideration in the decision as to whether to go with solar or not.”

        Really? What happens when these homeowners find that they need to sell their home at a discount compared to “non-solar” homes. This is a likely outcome if the investment is not economic.

        • Lanthanide 25.6.1.1

          But we already know that the electricity generation comes out to $100 surplus for the first 15 years, and then $1,000 after that (assuming Russel’s figures are accurate, which we have to for the sake of this discussion).

          Also the price of electricity is only going to go up, and if it keeps rising at 22% over 5 years like it has under National, then these figures will stack up even more in favour of solar in the years ahead.

          So it seems unlikely the house would be sold as a discount, unless there were other factors involved.

        • Draco T Bastard 25.6.1.2

          Why would someone need to sell a value added home for less?

          You make no sense at all.

    • KJT 25.7

      If oil and gas is such a viable option, why the need for subsidies.

      Subsidies for exploration, use, including the “roads of national significance” and production.

      Not to mention the enormous costs of military excursions, some of which New Zealand has joined in, to keep oil prices down.

      Maybe we should just stop subsidising oil use?

      • Draco T Bastard 25.7.1

        +111

        Most definitely need to stop subsidising fossil fuel use. Especially in the area of carbon emissions.

  26. bad12 26

    The Bloke interviewed on 3 news last night, not a politician,a private citizen who has installed His own solar array says it all as far as cost goes,

    His electricity bill now, around the 50 dollar a month mark, befor the installation of the solar array his electricity bill was from memory 150-200 bucks a month,

    There’s room on my roof for a large array of panels and considering my low use of electricity if this roof space was utilized i would probably end up generating double the electricity i use,

    Next, water???, there’s enough water falling on every city and town now being flushed through the storm water system and on into the sea to effectively drown every farm(er) in this country, the problem being the infrastructure of the primitives is non-existent to either store it for consumer use or store it for commercial use,

    The sucking dry of our rivers and underground water sources must stop sooner or later, we are rich in water which we simply waste through the storm water system into the sea…

    • grumpy 26.1

      …..turbines in the stormwater drains……don’t laugh 🙂

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        Yep, micro-hydro, smartest idea I’ve heard for a while grumpy

        • grumpy 26.1.1.1

          There are dozens of “micro hydro” schemes around (plenty on the West Coast). Royds Garden consultants built heaps in the 80’s for the Asian Development Bank in places like Laos.

        • ianmac 26.1.1.2

          I do know a young engineer who designed tiny water turbines to be used in creeks especially in back country blocks. How about multiple tiny turbines for those who live near reliable rivers. Why not?

          • grumpy 26.1.1.2.1

            There are thousands of these around. It is very old technology developing from the old Pelton wheel. Just about every remote farm has/had one.

      • bad12 26.1.2

        LOlz, sorry couldn’t help the mirth, not a silly idea at all ‘grumpy’, turbines in all the water mains, they work under pressurization so quite an amount of electricity could probably result from installing them,

        Broaden that out into what i say about wasting the storm water from every city and town into th sea and you have the means of supply for the electricity needed to pump such water anywhere you desire to store it for either use by house-holds or as i point out irrigation of farmland,

        All that is missing is the will and the infrastructure, Auckland can suck water for it’s city out of the Waikato river surely it’s storm water should be being used to either replenish the amount taken from the river and/or used for irrigation anywhere in the upper North Island…

        • grumpy 26.1.2.1

          There are heaps of nice bits of kit to do this. See below link for a NZ developed system based on the well known “Stirling engine” now being sold in their thousands in Europe to feed back into the grid.
          Replace your gas hot water boiler with one of these honeys and get 6kW of electricity free which can then be fed back into the local grid.
          http://www.whispergen-europe.com/

          • Lanthanide 26.1.2.1.1

            Snake oil. You don’t get the energy “free”.

            That thing appears to be a gas-powered hot water heater that also generates electricity.

            But you have to pay for the gas, it’s not “free”. If it can genuinely generate electricity from heat that would otherwise be ‘wasted’, eg hot-water going down a drain from a shower, then it would be performing a genuine energy ‘saving’.

            It appears however to simply use gas to generate hot water and then takes some of this heat to also generate electricity.

            If you had a new house built that used one of these units instead of being hooked up to the national grid, you’d get some savings, but otherwise it’s mostly just a gimmick.

            • grumpy 26.1.2.1.1.1

              OK, not quite free…..but if you get electricity at close to the conversion ratio of a boiler for hot water alone, it may as well be.

              • Lanthanide

                The figure says 90%.

                I’m not sure how efficient other forms of generation are, I think normal large-scale combined-cycle gas thermal might be around 85-87%? So potentially it is slightly more efficient than centralised generation and without transmission losses, which is a bonus, and if it provided significant on-demand electricity it would isolate you from grid disruptions. But you’re now much more dependant on gas infrastructure instead.

                All-in-all, it seems unlikely this save anyone a significant amount of money, although there may be other non-economic factors that are important – but 1 ton of CO2 per family per year is not much of a saving.

          • KJT 26.1.2.1.2

            The “Stirling” cycle engine is simply an efficient gas powered generator where you can use the waste heat to heat water also, increasing the efficiency. A small, combined cycle, gas fired power station if you like.

            You could do the same with a diesel engine and its waste cooling water.

            You still have to buy fuel for it.

            In isolated usage situations, like yachts, it can be a cheaper form of power and heating supply.

            Because of size it is unlikely to be more energy efficient than supply from a large central combined cycle gas generator

        • Lanthanide 26.1.2.2

          “LOlz, sorry couldn’t help the mirth, not a silly idea at all ‘grumpy’, turbines in all the water mains, they work under pressurization so quite an amount of electricity could probably result from installing them,”

          The mains are pressurised because of pumps, that use electricity, putting that pressure in. Therefore turbines in the pressure main can never produce more electricity than was needed to add the pressure in the first place, otherwise you’d have a perpetual energy device, which breaks the accepted laws of thermodynamics.

          • grumpy 26.1.2.2.1

            ….but you would get some of it back…..

            • Lanthanide 26.1.2.2.1.1

              Only if you were taking pressure out of water that didn’t need to be pressurised, eg it was wasted pressurisation.

              Turbines, by their nature, increase resistance – instead of going through unconstrained pipes, the water now has to push against turbine blades. This reduces the pressure of the water in the pipes. So now your garden hose may not be as high a pressure because of turbines sitting in the way stealing some of it.

              But if it is deemed acceptable for garden hoses (etc) to have lower pressure, then you can simply reduce the amount of pressure that is being inserted into the system by the pumps in the first place, thus saving more electricity than your turbines could ever generate (again, perpetual motion).

              There are only two conditions where this sort of proposal makes sense: if you’re using the water as a mechanism to transfer electricity from one site to another, or if your getting pressurised water for free, eg the water is stored up in a lake on a mountain and you can build a pipe to run the water out.

              The first is already solved by power lines. I’m sure if hydrolic power distribution was more cost-effective then we’d be using that instead. The second is of limited utility because very few places have lakes on the tops of mountains to provide free water pressure, and generally such places will have hydro dams in them already because of this very reason.

              • grumpy

                ……spoil sport……or at the bottom of hills in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington…

                • Lanthanide

                  I’m not aware of any large lake or river on the Christchurch hills. Don’t know about the others.

                • KJT

                  Several places in new Zealand where mains water is gravity fed.

                  Storm water is a possibility. All that rain falling off roofs?

                  However the existing pipes are sized and have falls to allow for expected storm flows. Installing turbines in them will back up the flow. Though only a problem when you get storm flows near the system capacity.
                  Common in Auckland as we all know. New housing, and old waste connections, (overflow to the storm water system) means the system has been beyound the original design limits for decades.

                  Renewable electricity was 77% in 2011. 60% from hydro. http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/energy/energy-modelling/data/renewables
                  The highest to date. Before or since. New gas generation planned, means this will fall in future, unless something is changed

                  • karol

                    I know one or two people in west Auckland with their own water tanks. Useful back-up and support to the mains supply.

                • Hayden

                  I have about 10m altitude difference between the bottom of the down-pipes and street level – I wonder if I could get much energy.

                  Assuming 130 sq.m of roof, if it acquires 5mm of rain = 0.65 cubic meters of water, or 650 litres. One litre has 1kg of mass and attracts 9.8N of weight (at sea level, we’re at 200m so close enough) so that water has 63700 Joules of energy (over a 10m drop). Assuming I could capture it with 100% efficiency, that’s about 0.017694 kWh of power saved, or $0.003538. At an annual rainfall of 1250mm, the total savings becomes $0.88472, so I’ll probably not bother.

                  It’s been a while since Bursary Physics, so if I’ve got something wrong here I won’t be surprised.

          • bad12 26.1.2.2.2

            L, just about got me to drag the Post off of the topic with that one, i for one do not ‘accept’ that the rules of thermodynamics are unbreakable,

            In theory magnetic energy harnessed correctly turns such a ‘rule’ on it’s head, the fact that no-one as yet has put together a system of generation using magnetic energy in my opinion is simply through lack of intellectual application, perhaps aided and abetted by most applying the ‘rule’ to their thinking befor applying their intellect to the actual means of how to harness that magnetic energy,

            A topic for another time and Post…

            • KJT 26.1.2.2.2.1

              Well. Every form of electricity generation does use magnetism????

              Not sure what, other, principle of “magnetism” you intend to use.

            • Lanthanide 26.1.2.2.2.2

              Go claim your nobel prize if you have anything conclusive.

  27. grumpy 27

    Many years ago, I was involved with a company in the below link. One of their really cool devices
    was an inline turbine that sits in gas pipelines and runs on the gas flow. Seems strange that nobody has used them here.
    http://www.piller.com/

  28. BM 28

    n Germany solar power has been a complete flop due to the fact there isn’t enough hours of sunlight to make it viable.

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/02/21/bjorn-lomborg-germanys-solar-experiment-collapses/

    According to this site here

    http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Germany/annual-hours-of-sunshine.php
    There’s about an average of 1600 hours of sunlight across Germany

    In NZ there’s around 2000 hours of sunlight
    http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/New-Zealand/sunshine-annual-average.php

    So NZ gets around 25% more sunlight than Germany is that actually enough sunlight to make this scheme work?

    On top of the cost, life expectancy, storage issues solar looks like a really high risk investment.

    • grumpy 28.1

      The expectations were too high. PV is useful but limited.

      • BM 28.1.1

        For me the killer is the fact that no NZ power company has actually built a photovoltaic power generation facility.

        Wind power yes, solar no and the only reason I can see is that it just doesn’t stack up.

        • grumpy 28.1.1.1

          NZ is a low cost (despite the artifial pricing mechanisms) electricity market. PV is high cost.
          It starts to make more sense as the two move closer together.
          The only thing that competes with hydro is nuclear……

        • Lanthanide 28.1.1.2

          We build wind turbines in NZ. We don’t build PV cells. That’s one reason.

          Wind works at night, solar doesn’t. There are some very windy places in NZ, but there aren’t many perpetually sunny places (like say Australia, the Sahara Desert and California) where solar is a clear winner.

          There are however big differences between industrial power generation schemes (which must provide power for all use cases in the country) and small domestic ones (which must satisfy only the use case of the house occupants). What works in one setting for a variety of reasons does not always scale up in the other setting. For example solar thermal power only makes sense on large scale, and small turbines are also much less efficient than their bigger cousins. So it’s not particularly surprising that what may work and be logical at small scales, is not so effective at large scales.

        • KJT 28.1.1.3

          It doesn’t stack up yet for large scale plants.

          Rooftop solar, however.

          Though I still consider the best use of solar is direct heating and cooling.
          Water heating, area heating, and energy for heat exchangers in summer.

          Passive solar houses save power for the whole life of the building.

          • Colonial Viper 28.1.1.3.1

            Though I still consider the best use of solar is direct heating and cooling.
            Water heating, area heating, and energy for heat exchangers in summer.

            Passive solar houses save power for the whole life of the building.

            This.

            PV is all very flash and exciting, but the ability to leave mains powered heaters and heat pumps off is the go.

  29. Naki Man 29

    Consumer magazine say ” The economics of grid-tied PV don’t stack up – particularly when you include the lack of significant environmental benefits.

    http://www.energywise.govt.nz/sites/all/files/solar-photovoltaic-consumer-november-2013.pdf

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      I think the Greens’ business case works well especially when the government helps tilt the balance. Lots of people are going to go for it, especially as they see the privatised power system continue to rip them off.

      • grumpy 29.1.1

        I sort of agree with you there BUT idealogues have a poor record with implementing solar as many here have kindly pointed out. For PV to be useful it needs to be part of an integrated system and there is a lot of doubt that conditions for that currently exists.
        Could it work? – probably yes.
        Will it work? – probably not.

      • srylands 29.1.2

        “Lots of people are going to go for it”

        Only financially illiterates.

        It is a risky investment for (at best) a very small saving in energy costs. What the Greens don’t tell people is that PV panels are a depreciating asset. So the return is small, and the capital erodes to zero. There is also technical erosion – the PV cells become less efficient.

        The market perceptions of this policy wil become evident fast. The Greens imply that houses with an encumbered solar “debt” will sell at a premium – i.e don’t worry of you sell your house – you will recover your money. On the contrary the economics of solar power mean that such houses will sell at a discount from “non-solar” houses. When this happens the shit will hit the fan politically because the private losses will be evident.

        Then there is the interest rate problem – if interest rates increase by 150 basis points in the next 2 years, the assumed advantage (if you believe teh green maths) evaporates.

        We could go on and on.. The major PV manufacturers are Chinese. The manufacturing process is polluting and emits significant greenhouse gases. Given New Zealand’s high renewables, what does displacing grid generated power with Chinese PVs do to global emissions (which is all that matters).

        Then there is household debt. The Government would be encouraging high levels of debt for a marginal (at best) return. New Zealand has a capital shortage. We don’t want to be encouraging marginal investments in exchange for higher householsd debt.

        There are another dozen shortcomings to this policy that could be listed. If it gets off the ground, it will provide a small financing subsidy to the small numbers of households who have a niche need for solar already – i.e most of the subsidy will be a windfall gain to existing homeowners – and mostly owners of large homes who are relatively wealthy. So it fails on equity grounds too.

        The Government and the industry will tear this to pieces over the next 6 months.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 29.1.2.1

          The National Party and those with vested interests will whine and whine and whine and whine?
          I think that’s something we’re probably going to have to get used to: the whining of vested interests and their bought politicians.

          Still, TINA.

          • srylands 29.1.2.1.1

            You have refuted none of the issues I have raised. For example will the policy rule out buying PV panels from Chinese companies with a poor environmental record? What will that do to the costs? Will the Government invest in Greenhouse emission reducion projects to offset the significant at source emissions impacts of PV panel manufacture? If not, what does the policy do to global greenhouse emissions over the life of the policy? Given New Zealand’s high renewables, and the Green’s policy to acheive 100% renewables by 2030, it is possible that this policy could increase global greenhouse emissions.

            • wtl 29.1.2.1.1.1

              It is impossible to argue with someone who’s fallback is simply “There is no alternative”. So why even bother trying?

              • McFlock

                Suddenly the cocksucker cares about greenhouse emissions.

                He must be depserate

                • Lanthanide

                  You do a disservice to cocksuckers everywhere by lumping him in with us.

                  • McFlock

                    True dat – I’ve whittled away many a pleasant evening in the company of your co-practitioners.

                    My apologies.

                • srylands

                  As you have resorted to your customary foul mouthed retorts, I will assume you have nothing to say about the reservations I have listed about this policy.

                  • McFlock

                    Awww, is the author of “Stop acting like a fucking idiot.” upset about bad language again? Did-fucky-iddums.

                    You listed no reservations.

                    You simply did your standard bullshit of assuming that because policies are not described to the level of identifying specific suppliers before the election (let alone before planning the nuances of policy implementation), the most incompetent alternative will be chosen each and every time.

                    That is, admittedly, the way the best and brightest in treasury operate, but really – go fuck yourself. Nobody else is as dumb as treasury.

                    So take your disingenuous “reservations” and shove them up your arse.

      • Naki Man 29.1.3

        Russel Norman is a snake oil salesman. This will only appeal to a few wealthy people who can afford to waste money and some financially illiterates who just don’t get the big picture.
        I wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole. These houses with older panels on them will be discounted. Who is going to buy a house at market value knowing they will have to spend $10k or more on new PV panels in the near future.

        • KJT 29.1.3.1

          The same people who buy a house now, knowing they will have to spend 10k on a new roof in the next 20 years.

          Except the roof does not pay for itself in 10 years.

    • Lanthanide 29.2

      Naki Man, in the online consumer website, various comments say that the government reports the article is based on are schizophrenic and biased. No time to write more right now.

  30. Rich 31

    A typical solar panel is what, 10 sq metres? We could put 30,000 in a 30 hectare field in Northland (the area with the highest insolation, I’m guessing). The land cost would be negligible ($20000 a hectare = $600k) compared to the cost of the panels, and they’d all be in one place to install and service.

    Of course, we need more than 100MW – we could have a million panels on a 1000 hectare solar farm, which would replace Huntly, and it could be built in a year.

    • grumpy 31.1

      Problem – you would be too far from where the energy would be used, needing high cost transmission facilities. These are the types of installation that prove useless and give PV bad press.
      Much better distributed through a local network.

      • Hayden 31.1.1

        Plus if it was cloudy/raining in Northland, all of that generation would be out at once.

        • grumpy 31.1.1.1

          …needing an equivalent amount of alternative (thermal?) generation.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 31.1.1.2

          Raining in Northland? That never happens!

        • greywarbler 31.1.1.3

          Hayden
          Is this something you know? Isn’t there any positive effect from having light, even if there is no sun? If there is cloud, what proportion of solar effect would remain?

          • Hayden 31.1.1.3.1

            Sorry, not necessarily out but reduced, presumably down to near zero given poor enough weather. I’m really only speaking to the matter of concentrating all of the PV generation in one location.

            • Draco T Bastard 31.1.1.3.1.1

              Yep, things like solar PV and wind need to be distributed to get the best returns which is why we need a single national grid.

              • weka

                Is it possible to have localised networks that connect, rather than one grid?

                • McFlock

                  that’s pretty much how it works now, from my understanding – the transmission lines between networks run at higher voltages than the local networks.

                  A bit like roads, with the intercity highways having exits at different suburbs, but the local roads (i.e. the 240V domestic lines) might not be able to handle that volume of traffic if the highway shut down.

                  The issue is getting the power from the generator to the domestic light bulb – if one part of the network doesn’t supply itself, you need to ship power from other parts of the grid that have a surplus.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    +1

                    The issue is getting the power from the generator to the domestic light bulb – if one part of the network doesn’t supply itself, you need to ship power from other parts of the grid that have a surplus.

                    And the variability of solar and wind is what makes it important for it to be a smart grid.

                    • karol

                      Will it be possible in the future, for the benefit of us renters, to create portable renewable generators? Windmills? Solar panels? Capture power generated by my exercise machine….?

                    • McFlock

                      apparently there’s a thought that maybe the smart meters currently being hooked up can’t handle that at the moment, but I hope they’re wrong. the exercise machine is an interesting idea

            • greywarbler 31.1.1.3.1.2

              Mmm I’m just trying to get started on learning this stuff. Haven’t got round to getting The Knowledge yet. So thanks. And I’m presuming suggesting it all be put in one place was to get a mental picture of the size required for a certain output. I guess this is where those measurements taken each year of max sun hours will be crucial in deciding location balanced against distance to the users.

  31. natwest 32

    This is yet another failed Green Policy plank, even before getting off the ground.

    Who is going to but into this scam, well, I can tell you who won’t.

    Landlords: nup, not a hope in hell – they won’t gain anything from it;

    The lower sociao economic group: nup, got no money now supposedly;

    The middle/upper class: nup, not a hope in hell – they’ll see through the financial failings of it immediately.

    So that dosen’t leave much left.

    • Lanthanide 32.1

      There are no economic failings except those you have concocted yourself with faulty maths and an inability to comprehend what you’re reading.

      • Naki Man 32.1.1

        That is not what consumer magazine say. They advise that an accountant would find it to be not viable. So why would you take advise from Russel the biased financially illiterate snake oil salesman.

        • Colonial Viper 32.1.1.1

          Rule no. 1. Don’t let narrow minded accountants, lawyers or financiers make important economic decisions.

        • Lanthanide 32.1.1.2

          As I replied to you earlier, there are comments on the consumer website by readers that say the government reports the consumer article was based on are bunk. And actually that article was about solar hot water, not solar PV.

          Here’s a snippet of some of them. Note that I haven’t read the government report myself.

          The second report on EECA program Posted by: hops 17 Sep 2013 8:13pm
          starts with detailing that
          “The problem definition is not stated consistently within EECA”
          and
          “The objectives stated by EECA may not be consistent with the Government’s:”

          both of which which would seem to indicate that clear conclusions may be difficult – they persist none the less

          Interesting note:
          “while the programme has resulted in a positive NPV for most consumers,
          on a national basis, the NPVs are significantly negative.”
          Indicating that the results are good for individuals but somehow not good nationally.

          shortly after the above they then say
          “A significant proportion of the solar installations have a negative consumer NPV.”
          So which is it?

          (The earlier conclusion could be because individual benefits are calculated on electricity retail prices, National ones on wholesale prices) – no apparent discussion on whay this is a valid comparison

          They tout Heat pumps as beng ‘better ‘ than Solar thermal based on calcs from different orders of magnitude uptake (< 200 for pumps, vs thousands for solar thermal) – Heat pump data more recent and 'cleaner' data sets.

          and
          "Energy performance data was not provided for 2343 of the 8694 (solar Thermal)installations so we estimated this based on the collector size"
          vs
          "For Heat Pump systems we received valid and complete data from EECA for 129 of the 153 installations that had been performed"

          Sigh
          I would take any conclusions from this report (given scope, discussion and data set differences) with an extremely large mine of salt…

          Read the report – its quite illuminating in caveats.

          So why the Consumer report initial conclusion?

          "Why doesn't solar water heating live up to its promises?"

          As comments seem to indicate;
          thats not *entirely* the case….

          Interesting Take on Reports Posted by: hops 17 Sep 2013 7:35pm
          The PCE report seems to be a hatchet job damning Solar Thermal for
          a) Not addressing/ofsetting CO2 generation from peaker plants and
          b) being least effective at times when its most inefficient (cold/overcast days midwinter).

          It does faintly praise amongst the major damning that solar Thermal does decrease electricity use/need for baseload plant infrastructure.

          The PCE answer is to use (more) electricity but at off peak times.
          Unfortunately they dont mention address that you are still paying for electricity at grossly inflated rates

          They report is aimed at a skew off center problem (CO2 emission) not decrease in electricity use
          (personal/domestic electricity COST).

          So from that at least the sensationalist first sentence of the Consumer report is also a hatchet job.

          Why accentuate the negative?! Posted by: Harm Less 17 Sep 2013 2:19pm
          A little unbiased research wouldn’t go amiss Consumer. This report is lacking in depth and shows little understanding of the state of NZ’s solar water heating. It is crowded with junk systems and ignorant installers.

          Despite all of the photos within this report being of evacuated tube systems no mention of this type of system, as opposed to flat panel ones, is made. The performance capabilities of the two designs differ vastly particularly in less than optimum conditions or panel orientations.

          The 3 case studies sum up where most solar water heating systems fail. The first highlights an incorrectly functioning system not being corrected by bad support and/or lack of knowledge by the installer. The second case study is another case of a poor quality installation and/or product. And while the system in case study three is like a “350-litre kettle” this would indicate a badly designed combination that has insufficient storage capacity (or excessive collector size) which is both wasting heat and probably causing rapid degradation of the set-up (i.e. very limited life expectancy).

          Our modestly sized German manufactured evacuated tube collector heats a purpose suited in-house 280L cylinder via a closed loop transfer system. The controller is easily understood, automatic and programmed for our individual requirements. For 5-6 months of the year our solar supplies virtually all of our hot water, while contributing to varying degrees for the rest of the year.

          We employed a qualified installer who provided us a purpose designed system of top quality components with a 25+ year life expectancy, all for under $10K as a retro fitted installation. If we were to build a new house the inclusion of a solar water heating system would be considered essential, as would a practically sized PV installation.

          In general the replies to the article are by people saying they have solar hot water heating, it’s be great, they haven’t had problems and that it has or will shortly pay for itself in cost savings.

    • Hayden 32.2

      The lower sociao economic group: nup, got no money now supposedly;

      Why would you need money? You’re borrowing the money, then paying the interest out of power savings, leaving you with $100 per year (at current prices, which are only going up) for the life of the loan. When the loan’s paid off, all of the savings are yours.

      I guess people who don’t understand it are going to be dead against it.

      • Draco T Bastard 32.2.1

        Oh, I’m sure that Nakiman understands it same as John Key understands it but, as it lowers profits for the main generators, they just don’t like it.

        So, how many shares did each of the naysayers buy on the promise of a lifetime or more of free money from the power generating assets that the country built?

    • MrSmith 32.3

      “Landlords: nup, not a hope in hell – they won’t gain anything from it;”

      Except being able to charge more rent, right the improvements off, adding value to their investment and when selling that investment having a more salable and valuable property.

      No nothing to gain at all.

  32. Colonial Viper 33

    Using a measure of how rabid the RWNJs are over this Greens policy announcement, I’m pleased to declare that Norman and Turei have hit a vote winning home run with this.

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