SolarKing National Solar Conference

SolarKing National Solar Conference HighlightsSolarKing NZ Solar panel specialists

More than 60 members of the solar power industry gathered in Auckland on August 28 for the SolarKing National Solar Conference, described by organisers as the city’s largest conference of its type.

Attendees heard from international guests including Australian solar industry expert Nigel Morris and a representative from Germany’s SMA and local speakers, including Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, and Sustainable Business Network CEO Rachel Brown.

High points included SMA’s vision of the ‘smart house’ – a home that is not only energy efficient, but energy neutral or energy positive.

Also discussed were latest trends and upcoming development in how solar power can be used by home owners and business owners.

The Greens’ Gareth Hughes discussed two of his party’s policies – a proposal for low-interest loans for domestic solar power system installation, and a change to legislation to ensure power companies pay a ‘fair and reasonable’ rate for electricity exported to the grid.

He says both initiatives would lead to a steady increase in solar power and, over time, would help a cleaner, greener New Zealand do away with the last of its “dirty power” from coal.

Clever Solar Initiatives:Zero S Solar Motorbike

Imagine cooking your dinner with the power coming off your electric motorbike, rather than paying peak hour rates to the power company. Well, don’t imagine it. Do it.

Australian solar energy guru Nigel Morris reckons he will sell an electric bike as the battery back-up to an integrated solar home before the end of the year.

Charge up the bike from what’s produced by the house’s solar panels in the sunshine hours, draw down the battery during the peak, and have fun on it in the weekends.

The 30-year veteran of the solar industry across the Tasman is already doing something similar with his own home on Sydney’s northern beaches, using the Zero electric bike on which he commutes to work in Manly.

The cost of the bike? At AU$16,500-plus, it’s not too much different from buying a block of standalone batteries, says Nigel.

He gave his vision of a solar future to last month’s SolarKing National Conference in Auckland.

The attendees, who included industry people, SolarKing staff and representatives from lines companies, power companies, engineers, roofing companies and electrical industry consultants, were given the warning that when solar takes off here, it will do so at exponential rates – what Morris calls the solar snowball.

He says Australia is now installing as much solar capacity in a day as it did in a year 10 years ago. The current capacity stands at 3GW, about six percent of Australia’s total installed power capacity, and it’s now the largest small-scale market in the world, with lots of mums and dads putting solar panels on the roof, rather than the large-scale solar farms seen in other countries.

The market has characteristics of boom and bust, as changes in government and utility regulations (and subsidies) affect demand. But the trend is up.

Morris says it represents billions of dollars of lost revenue for power utilities, 22,000 direct jobs and 12,000 indirect jobs.

Nigel’s vision of the smart house was confirmed by a representative from German firm SMA, the world’s largest manufacturer of inverters – the gadget that transforms DC voltage from solar panels to the AC power appliances need.

SMA Smart House – Can a house really be energy positive?SolarKing SMA Solar Product Range

The SMA vision is a house that is not only energy efficient, but energy neutral or even energy positive, generating more power than its occupants use. That requires a combination of solar panels, battery storage and smart control technology.

SMA’s home energy manager can communicate with all of the home’s major appliances and turn them on as and when there is enough power available for them to operate. The homeowner can programme the system’s energy priorities. It can turn appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, under-floor heating, air conditioning and heating, and hot water systems, off and on as energy production allows.

Surplus energy charges the battery bank for use when solar panels don’t produce enough power, or exports surplus power to the grid at the times power companies will pay the most for it.

The home energy manager can even detect how much power is in the battery of the electric car parked on the induction pad in the garage, and pull down power for the house during the peak, then recharge the vehicle late at night when grid power is cheaper.

Solar conference highlights

More than 60 members of the solar power industry gathered in Auckland on August 28 for the SolarKing National Conference, described by organisers as the city’s largest conference of its type.

Attendees heard from international guests including Australian solar industry expert Nigel Morris and a representative from Germany’s SMA and local speakers, including Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, and Sustainable Business Network CEO Rachel Brown.

High points included SMA’s vision of the ‘smart house’ – a home that is not only energy efficient, but energy neutral or energy positive.

Latest Solar Trends:

Also discussed were latest trends and upcoming development in how solar power can be used by home owners and business owners.

The Greens’ Gareth Hughes discussed two of his party’s policies – a proposal for low-interest loans for domestic solar power system installation, and a change to legislation to ensure power companies pay a ‘fair and reasonable’ rate for electricity exported to the grid.

He says both initiatives would lead to a steady increase in solar power and, over time, would help a cleaner, greener New Zealand do away with the last of its “dirty power” from coal.

 

Article Attributes: NZ Herald – Sustainable Business section. Element Magazine.

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