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SEANZ announces 2018 Energy Award Winners

The best of New Zealand’s sustainable energy sector was on show Friday evening, when the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) concluded its annual “Tomorrow’s Energy Today” conference and announced the winners in its 2018 Energy Awards, sponsored by Fronius.

It has been another strong year for the industry says SEANZ Chairman, Brendan Winitana.

“The past year has been categorised by the use of smart technologies that work together with solar installations to help customers get the most from their smart energy systems.

“Installed Generation from solar PV is up 25% this year and a third of new installations have battery storage.

“All installations have apps and energy management systems to ensure that energy can be used during the day when it is generated, providing an immediate benefit and maximising returns to customers.

“People want smart energy technologies that lower costs, reduce carbon emissions, and provide a more resilient energy future, “says Mr Winitana.

Optimising smart technologies increasingly requested by customers include:

• Connectivity provided by “internet of things” devices

• Peer-to-peer services

• Diverters that send solar generated power to hot water cylinders, rather than using purchased grid power

• Mini and micro grid development

• Battery storage

“The convergence of these technologies is where SEANZ members operate and deliver smart energy solutions for customers.

“These trends reflects the broadening technologies and business models of SEANZ members, and increasing public support and demand for sustainable energy solutions that place smart homes and businesses at the cornerstone of our future energy network.”

The winners of SEANZ 2018 Industry Awards, sponsored by Fronius are:

Best Off Grid Installation - Sunergise for Kaibu (Fiji). A remote island resort that was previously 100% reliant on diesel generators including for water desalination. The resort incurred high costs for fuel as well as generator maintenance and power interruptions from daily shutdowns that occur to transfer between generators. Seeking to reduce their operational costs and their impact on the tropical island and surrounding beautiful lagoon, the retreat went about transforming itself into a self-sufficient, ecological place for guests. Since installation the new solar array is delivering more than 83% of the resort’s total electrical energy. With diesel generators now silent, guests and staff are able to enjoy the beauty of the island with the added benefit of reliable, clean and renewable energy.

Best grid-connected installation - Genesis and Reid Tech for Kenehi on Bryce. Kenehi on Bryce is the name that Genesis gave to its new headquarters in Hamilton. A challenging installation that required significant workarounds and thinking outside the square to deliver.

Best solar and storage grid - Reid Technology for Moroni High School. The Moroni Solar Power System is a hybrid solar/battery/generator system that provides power to the school on the island of Tarawa in Kiribati. A complex solution that combines programming for multitude of possible scenarios that the system must operate under, online monitoring of system performance between Kiribati and New Zealand, substantial saving in CO2 emissions, and a fast payback period of just four years. Power on Tarawa is very expensive and very unreliable – leading the client to find a better solution. On a typical day the 125kWp solar system delivers c 500 kWh of solar power – worth cAUD$350. Moroni is just above the equator, meaning that its solar generation is very consistent and predictable all year round. This AUD$350 per day saving leaves the school with considerably more funds available for teachers and materials, meaning that they will provide a better education to the 800 children who attend Moroni High School.

Dave Keppel Innovation award - PowerGenius Home Energy Management System. PowerGenius (cloud-based software, service subscription and the hardware) optimises the use of solar energy generated and reduces the need for mains power thereby maximising return on solar investment. It solves the issue of mismatch between the typical solar generation and home energy demand curves. Currently the only options are to change electricity use behaviour, use appliance timers, solar hot water diverters or expensive storage systems. PowerGenius is unique in its ability to redistribute a household’s energy demand to match the solar energy generated through its cascading appliance control system.

Best Small Business - McNae Electrical Palmerston North. Praised as reputable, reliable and professional solar integrators that service the Manawatu's solar industry needs, McNae Electrical contribute to the New Zealand solar industry at large.

Best Sustainable Energy Innovation - Vector for the Vector lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge. Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand is the first installation of its kind anywhere in the world; an iconic city bridge lit entirely by solar energy, with solar and battery technology as part of the solution.

Best Community Energy Project - Infratec for the Southern Group Cook Islands Project - Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro. The projects successfully delivered mini-grids on four islands within the Southern Group of the Cook Islands - Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro and significantly upgraded the medium and low voltage networks on two of those islands; Mauke and Mitiaro. Before the installation, the islands’ electricity was supplied solely by diesel generators. Now the islands’ residents can boast that about 95 per cent of grid electricity supplying each island is generated by solar panels.

Industry person of the year – Simon Mackenzie, CEO Vector. imon’s genuine passion to find solutions for New Zealand’s most pressing energy challenges are driving change across the industry. For Simon, smart energy solutions that can benefit all kiwis is not just a job, he voluntarily gives his time, his energy, and his knowledge for the betterment of the industry and ultimately, all New Zealanders. SEANZ recognises Simon’s outstanding contribution to the industry and SEANZ with this award.

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