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New calculator works out the cost-benefits of solar energy

Dr Alan Wood (Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering) and Dr Allan Miller (EPECentre Director) who co-invented the EECA energywise™ PV Solar Calculator.

Does solar stack up for you? New calculator works out the cost-benefits for your household

A new calculator developed by New Zealand experts will give people interested in solar electricity a useful estimate about whether solar will be cost-effective for their household.

The University of Canterbury’s EPECentre developed the calculator in response to increasing public interest in solar electricity systems. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is hosting the tool on its ENERGYWISE website.

EPECentre director Dr Allan Miller says the calculator gives a personalised result by taking into account factors such as your region, whether your house faces north, the slope of your roof and your current electricity use. People with a strong interest in solar can add additional data, Dr Miller says.

“The calculator is designed to be reasonably easy to use while asking for enough information to give a useful estimate.”

EECA spokesperson Allen Davison says EECA’s role as an authority is to give independent advice about emerging technologies like solar which have created considerable public interest and debate.

“Some tools do give a general result but the strength of this calculator is that it will give people a personalised result for their property.”

Mr Davison says the EPECentre is the New Zealand centre of excellence in electric power engineering, including solar power, and the centre has brought considerable expertise to the development of the calculator.

Dr Miller says the calculator is designed for a typical New Zealand home – it’s not applicable for commercial buildings or for off-grid application.

EECA will encourage people to use the calculator as the first step in making any decision about investing in solar panels for your home.

To view the calculator

Note to Editors
The calculator was developed by electrical engineers at the University of Canterbury through the GREEN Grid research programme, which uses modelling of future trends in renewable electricity generation and household demand, together with in depth knowledge of electricity networks and power management, to ensure that New Zealanders have access to reliable, safe, and affordable renewable energy. GREEN Grid is funded by MBIE, Transpower and the EEA.

About the EPECentre
The EPECentre is New Zealand’s premier Centre of Excellence in Electric Power Engineering, hosted by the University of Canterbury. The EPECentre works closely with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which teaches the Bachelor Engineering with Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Computer Engineering. The EPECentre has led the GREEN Grid research programme since 2012, a six year research programme looking at increasing New Zealand’s renewable energy generation. More information about the EPECentre and GREEN Grid is available at:

About the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is the Crown agency that encourages, supports, and promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand. EECA provides information to households through ENERGYWISETM and to businesses through EECA BUSINESSTM

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