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solarcity awarded R&D funding to accelerate clean energy

Auckland, 17 July 2019 – solarcity, New Zealand’s leading solar power company has been awarded a Research & Development grant by Callaghan Innovation to help accelerate its revolutionary new service, solarZero.

solarZero is an innovative new solar-based service that will help end the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels in the electricity sector and reach the Government’s climate change targets. Offered on a subscription basis like Netflix, solarZero can reduce the cost of electricity in year one by up to 30%.

James Muir, Callaghan Innovation’s Energy & Environment Business Innovation Advisor says, “Through our Digital Energy Hub project we are working with companies like solarcity to create a cleaner, greener energy future. The project is designed to deliver ground breaking energy innovation and explore how digital technologies can address energy sector challenges.”

Andrew Booth, CEO at solarcity, says, “We are incredibly proud to be working alongside Callaghan Innovation, and this grant recognises solarcity’s efforts to implement positive change in the energy sector. Solar is the fastest growing form of energy generation globally and is a key means by which we can achieve 100% renewable electricity and combat climate change.”

solarcity has partnered with Panasonic, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, to deliver a battery designed for New Zealand conditions. “With Callaghan Innovation’s support we will create the software and systems needed to integrate the battery into the New Zealand power system,” says Booth.

solarZero batteries will support the electricity network as a virtual power plant, increasing the efficiency of the nation’s power system and reducing electricity costs. This initiative will help deliver a power system that is more efficient, more reliable and will enable communities to be more resilient when natural disasters strike. The technology is relevant to power systems in many countries.

Solar together with batteries are key technologies in the fight against climate change. A recent landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded there are only 12 years left to stop global temperatures from breaching 1.5C and the New Zealand Government has set goals to make the country’s electricity system 100 percent renewable by 2035 and to reduce its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.

Booth comments, “We need to move quickly and we need to move now. In an average year our coal and gas-fired electricity generation plants emit 4 million tonnes of carbon, which is 20% of our carbon dioxide 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 electricity generation and generate cleaner, cheaper and more reliable electricity.

According to Transpower and the Productivity Commission, electricity demand will increase significantly over the next few decades as the economy, including transport, is electrified. Carbon-free generation like wind and solar will be the main sources of energy generation and battery storage will be key.

“The Callaghan Innovation grant will support the technological innovation required to ensure batteries can support the massive and very necessary increase in solar and wind generation.

We’re grateful for Callaghan Innovation’s support and look forward to continuing to work with the team at Callaghan Innovation to deliver New Zealand’s next generation of emission reduction technologies,” comments Booth.

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