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SEANZ clarifies process over EECA Solar Calculator

Press Release For Immediate Use

Government agency requested SEANZ expert analysis

Auckland, 30 April 2019 - The Sustainable Energy Association NZ (SEANZ) responded to a TVNZ news story last night implying the organisation had lobbied intensively to have EECA’s tax-payer funded solar calculator taken down.

SEANZ Chair Brendan Winitana says: “SEANZ was approached by EECA in 2016, before the online calculator was launched, to provide expert analysis and to endorse its use with the public.

“Since then, SEANZ has worked constructively with EECA to improve the calculator’s accuracy and functionality. In October 2018 EECA agreed to voluntarily take the calculator offline and to work with SEANZ to address a list of inadequacies identified, as requested, by our expert analysts.

“The full list hasn’t yet been remedied, and until then, SEANZ won’t support the calculator’s re-release to the public. However, we look forward to continuing to work constructively with EECA to ensure the calculator becomes a robust tool that can help kiwis make well-informed decisions about the costs and benefits of installing a solar energy system.

“Every household is different and no online tool used in isolation, including our own Solar Optimiser, can give a 100% accurate appraisal. SEANZ members are the most experienced renewable energy practitioners in the country and are best placed to offer up-to-date advice to consumers,” says Mr Winitana.

A record of engagement between EECA and SEANZ is provided to highlight SEANZ’s commitment to working with EECA to ensure its online calculator is fit-for-purpose.

• Mid 2016 EECA requested SEANZ review and endorse a solar calculator being developed to help consumers understand the economics of solar power
• SEANZ welcomed this initiative, seeing it as a positive for consumers that aligned with SEANZ’s mission
• On behalf of SEANZ, several of the country’s most experienced solar energy analysts reviewed the EECA calculator, judging it inaccurate and supplied EECA with a list of issues questioning the methodology and assumptions and requesting it not be made available publicly until resolved
• In October 2016 EECA launched the online calculator
• Throughout 2017 and 2018 SEANZ continued to engage constructively with EECA in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues.
• In October 2018, two years after its launch, EECA agreed to remove the calculator from public use until the key findings of a report by SEANZ’s expert analysts were addressed and SEANZ had endorsed the calculator for public use
• In January 2019 EECA advised SEANZ it had made some changes but would defer other redevelopment work until later in the year, and wanted to relaunch the calculator
• SEANZ’s position is that until all issues have been remedied we will not support the relaunch the tool.
• 29 April 2019 TVNZ News accuses SEANZ of inappropriate lobbying to have the calculator taken down.
In summarising Brendan Winitana said: “SEANZ is in favour of an EECA calculator, but not in its current format. We look forward to resolving the outstanding issues and continuing to work constructively with EECA to get to the point where SEANZ and independent solar industry experts can endorse this important consumer information tool.”
SEANZ Solar Optimiser can be found at https://www.seanz.org.nz/optimiser


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