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‘World First’ Enables Kiwis to Meet Climate Change Challenge

‘World First’ Enables Kiwis to Meet Climate Change Challenge
and Cut Power Bills In Half


Solarcity, New Zealand’s leading solar power company has teamed up with Panasonic the world’s leading battery manufacturer, to launch a world first. A revolutionary new service, solarZero which enables Kiwis to reach the Government’s climate change targets and reduce the price of power.

solarZero gives Kiwis a new way to power their homes on a subscription basis like Netflix, at a price which is up to 50% cheaper than buying power from the grid. The solarZero service integrates solar panels and a unique new battery platform which delivers real time control over key appliances and gives energy a voice through Alexa, a cloud based voice service to check performance, answer questions and control your smart home.

The new solarZero battery platform changes the way solar power can be stored and shared. It tracks home power usage, buying extra power if needed when the rates are low. It also provides emergency back-up power, giving added security during unpredictable outages and natural disasters.

“Our engineers in Beijing and Singapore have spent the past three years working alongside solarcity’s engineers in Auckland to achieve significant design, technology and cost breakthroughs. This is a world first battery platform design which allows solarcity to deliver its breakthrough service without the support of any government subsidy,” said Stewart Fowler, Managing Director of Panasonic New Zealand.

This partnership and new service will accelerate the nation’s transition to becoming 100% renewable by 2035, a target set by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw says, “It’s initiatives like this which will help us make a real difference. The challenge climate change represents is the greatest opportunity we have to upgrade our economy to one that is more productive, higher-value, higher-tech, and higher-wage than the economy we have at the moment.”

In an average year our electricity generation plants emit 5 million tonnes of carbon – 10% of our carbon emissions. “By delivering solar as a service to 500,000 homes and 5,000 commercial rooftops in the next 10 years, solarZero can end New Zealand’s dependence on fossil fuel generation and generate cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy,” says solarcity CEO Andrew Booth.

New Zealand has the fastest growing residential power prices in the 29 countries surveyed by the International Energy Agency, rising 79% (adjusted for inflation) since 1990. solarZero turns conventional electricity pricing on its head, giving customers a personalised energy plan, designed to enable them to cut their power bill in half and put an end to the rising cost of power.

The service uses an award winning financing mechanism developed by solarcity and Westpac based on the model pioneered by Google, Apple and Facebook to lock in a fixed, low cost, inflation free price for solar power across 20 years removing any and all technology risk.

A survey released today by Buzz Channel to mark the launch of this new energy service found that 83% of Kiwis want to see New Zealand move towards a cleaner and greener power supply and 65% agree that solar energy is the solution for this.

solarcity has surveyed 1.1 million New Zealand rooftops and found 850,000 solar-ready homes. Even if fewer than 50% of them were to take up the solarZero energy service, the combined savings to those consumers would be $4.4 billion over 20 years.

Over the past three years solarZero has become the single biggest provider of residential solar power in New Zealand. Its 3,000 customers generate 12 GWh of electricity each year, enough to power a town the size of Huntly.

Notes for Editor
Gary Holden, CEO of Pulse Utilities, one of the original team that advised the government on the design of the current energy system welcomed the breakthrough.“Enabling consumers to integrate solar and batteries with the grid is the pathway to a low cost, carbon-free future. The power grid faces expensive upgrades from now on and 100% renewable energy is finally the cheapest option. Consumers save, the grid is better utilised and New Zealand becomes 100% renewable … what could possibly be better than this?”
“Solar power was the fastest-growing source of new energy worldwide last year. We are witnessing the start of a new era as technological innovation starts to deliver the tools we need to stop climate change. It’s great to see a small company here in New Zealand pull off a world first,” says Mike Bennett, CEO of Z and Chair of the Climate Leaders Coalition.

Ends

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