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NZ’s first Zero Energy House leads move to end power bills

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MEDIA RELEASE:

Friday 29 June, 2012

Intelligent Roof on NZ’s first Zero Energy House leads move to end power bills

The country’s first Zero Energy House will lead the move towards more Kiwis fitting Intelligent Roofs on their homes, to protect themselves from the rising cost of power, says the CEO of the nation’s leading solar power company.

SolarCity has partnered with the home’s owners Joanna Woods and Shay Brazier, and energy consultants and ecocompanies, to help build the Point Chevalier-based Zero Energy House (ZEH). The home aims to achieve net-zero power bills by generating as much electricity as is consumed, through a blend of energy-efficient features and an Intelligent Solar Roof.*

Labour leader David Shearer and one of Pure Advantage’s Trustees Stephen Tindall met with SolarCity CEO Andrew Booth and Shay Brazier this morning (Friday 29) at the home to see the Intelligent Roof which has just been installed.

Andrew Booth says the Zero Energy House’s roof has a combination of an Artline Solar Hot Water system manufactured in Christchurch and the Pacific’s first installation of the Solarcentury C21e solar power roof tile. “Our new Intelligent Roof will generate clean, renewable energy that saves money and offsets electricity consumption – helping homeowners put an end to power bills,” Andrew Booth says. “The price of power in New Zealand is more than 70% higher than in Australia and the United States. There is very little point switching power companies in the face of such high prices. Homeowners would be far better off switching to solar.”

Shay Brazier, Zero Energy House owner, and Head of Design and Innovation at SolarCity, says his Zero Energy House could save as much as $50,000 - $80,000 in power costs over the next 25 years.**

“Our Zero Energy House protects us from the impact of electricity rate increases while safeguarding the environment for the next generation,” Brazier says. “The country needs to start thinking about making their roofs more intelligent, and start thinking about the cost of running a house per square metre, rather than just the cost of building a house per square metre. “An intelligent roof works for you, rather than sits dormant,” he says. “It uses the free sunshine and turns it into electricity, which let’s face it, is a huge monthly cost for everyone. It pays for itself by significantly reducing the cost of running a home, as it costs a fraction of the energy costs that the house would incur over its life.

“Each house’s situation is different, so the mix of Solar Hot Water and Solar Photovoltaic technologies people may choose to make their roof intelligent will be different,” he says. “Our intelligent roof includes a SolarCity Artline Solar Hot Water system, and the new C21e roofing tiles, which SolarCity has just made available in New Zealand. The Artline system will provide 25% of our home’s energy by heating the majority of our water for us, and the C21e solar slate roofing tile will provide 45% of our power needs, and the rest of the home achieves zero energy through energy efficiency.

“We are thrilled to be the first in the Pacific to have the C21e roofing tile, which is a product that proves that a roof can be smart and attractive.”

Stephen Tindall says "The key to making cases like Shay's the norm will be the Government and business working together, to put real innovation to work for us. The problem is that we're still subsidising fossil fuels, instead of using our natural advantage to build a sustainable economy, reduce our environmental footprint, and improve living standards for everyone."

Labour leader calls for solar on new homes In his electorate today at the Zero Energy House, Labour leader David Shearer said New Zealanders should all be aiming towards having Zero Energy homes.

"New Zealand should be as clean and green as we say it is,” Shearer says. “Given our high sunshine hours and mild climate, New Zealand has the perfect opportunity to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels. The government should be reducing the barriers to solar energy for everyday New Zealanders, so we all have the opportunity to minimise our power bills and carbon footprints, as Jo and Shay are doing. These guys are showing us the way."

Shearer says it was totally regressive for the National-led government to remove solar hot water grants, which it did earlier this month. "In Europe, solar and other forms or renewable energy are seen as the way of the future. New Zealand is lagging behind when we should be way out in front.

"Labour believes increasing renewable energy in homes is the way of the future,” he says. “Solar technology is becoming more affordable by the day, and in Christchurch is even being fitted as standard across 3500 new homes, which will harness solar energy to power themselves, and sell any excess energy back to the national grid. The Zero Energy House is a house of the future, and a wake-up call."

Notes for Editors:

Solarcentury C21e Roof Tile: World-leading solar roof tile available for first time in the Pacific SolarCity has this month become the sole supplier of the world leading Solarcentury C21e roof tile in New Zealand.

The C21e tile sits flush with adjoining roof material, so looks like the roof. It has won a number of awards internationally for its unique integrated design.

SolarCity’s Andrew Booth says the company has been negotiating for over a year with the tile’s manufacturers about bringing it to New Zealand.

“It is fantastic that New Zealanders can now access this amazing roofing tile, which means you don’t have to put a solar system on top of the roof, as the C21e is part of the roof,” says Booth. “It is installed by a trained roofer, and as it is a roofing tile, it also needs no additional building consents from those already needed for the roof.

“As electricity prices continue to rise, it is the perfect time for New Zealanders to embrace the notion of an intelligent roof,” he says. “New Zealand gets at least 2000 hours of sunshine a year, on average. For many of us, our roofs are soaking it all up, but it is not being used for anything.

“To help people evaluate the best solar products for their needs, there’s a web tool on our website where people can choose products and see exactly how intelligent these products make their roofs.” The C21e tile is fitted to standard wooden battens, using traditional roofing practice, with one solar tile covering the width of several conventional tiles. For more information please go to www.solarcity.co.nz/intelligentroof

The Zero Energy House

* The Zero Energy House is designed to produce as much electricity as it consumes on an annual basis, on average. Utility fees, surcharges and distribution charges may remain. Estimates are based on average use by household with published data from manufacturers, suppliers and others, and calculated using software approved by the Ministry of Economic Development. Energy usage not guaranteed and energy production and consumption may vary based on home, orientation, climate and usage of electric appliances.

** Based on 2010 price levels. Adjusted for inflation, residential electricity prices have almost doubled in the past 25 years (Ministry of Economic Development. (2011). New Zealand energy data file: 2010 calendar year edition. p130- 131. Meanwhile, in this year alone prices for some households have gone up by almost 12%.

For more go to: http://www.zeroenergyhouse.co.nz/

About SolarCity

SolarCity is the nation's leading solar power company, taking fifth place in the 2012 New River Green 50 list. Across the past 30 years SolarCity has put more kiwi-made panels on homes and businesses than anyone else.

We are currently involved with New Zealand’s largest solar subdivision in Christchurch, putting solar on 3,500 Maxim Projects-built homes , are installing the nation’s largest commercial solar power system for Panasonic in Auckland, and have just launched the C21e panel in New Zealand on the country’s first Zero Energy House.

Our services range from design, product development and manufacturing to financing, installation, service and remote monitoring. SolarCity is New Zealand’s only solar company to have CarboNZero accreditation. We are in business for a purpose: to help create a cleaner world and a sustainable future.

Our commercial and Government clients range from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Conservation and EECA to The Warehouse and Europe’s largest solar company, Solarcentury. We are also under contract to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advise on solar and energy strategy across the Pacific.

More: http://www.solarcity.co.nz

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