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SolarZero Wins At The New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards For Revolutionary Solar Technology

solarZero, New Zealand's largest provider of solar energy, has won the Innovation in Energy Award at the 2023 New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards. Awarded at a ceremony on Wednesday evening, the award recognises solarZero's outstanding contribution to the energy sector by demonstrating a commitment to transforming New Zealand's power system, specifically through sophisticated management of their battery systems.

Matt Ward, solarZero Chief Executive says, “We’re thrilled to receive the Innovation in Energy Award in a category of really impressive organisations. It’s testament to our commitment to innovation and collaboration in the electricity sector, and driving Aotearoa closer to the ultimate goal of reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2030.”

Established in 2009 by Andrew Booth, solarZero provides solar systems (consisting of solar panels and batteries) to customers who pay a fixed monthly fee for their solar power while solarZero pays for the panels, smart battery, installation, maintenance, monitoring and insurance - removing financial and logistical barriers to ‘going solar’.

The Innovation in Energy award was presented to the strongest overall demonstration of innovation in the New Zealand energy sector, such as a product, service, market, resource or business model that's different, game-changing and has proven positive impacts. The judges found solarZero met this criteria with flying colours due to its groundbreaking Virtual Power Plant (VPP) - the largest in the Asia Pacific region - which utilises their battery systems to provide power system stability and demand flexibility.

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VPP technology is a critical enabler of New Zealand’s energy transition at a time when our electricity demand is increasing, due to electrification of the economy and the variability of renewable energy generation.

Working closely with Transpower, solarZero harnesses reserve energy stored in batteries across the entire solarZero customer network and feeds it back into the grid in milliseconds to help manage disruptions in the power system. The VPP helps keep the lights on when something goes wrong in the power system, thereby creating a more stable, resilient power system.

The VPP was put to the test in late 2022, and successfully delivered electricity through 3,200 household battery systems back into the grid when a frequency event occurred - a world first. Currently, solarZero’s VPP comprises over 11,000 customers, having grown by close to 50% over the past twelve months.

This initiative is an important step towards enabling the decarbonisation of the power system while maintaining power system stability and ensuring electricity is affordable for all New Zealanders. By mid 2024 solarZero expects it will have 15,000+ of its systems enrolled for reserves, providing up to 80 megawatts of capacity into the reserves market.

It was for these innovations that solarZero was recognised at the awards ceremony, solidifying its role as a leader in innovation in the energy sector, and a key player in the race to 100% renewable electricity.

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